Archive | July 2011

The Dark Knight Rises – Trailer and Poster

Some of us that bore witness to the finale of the Harry Potter franchise over the weekend may have noticed the highly anticipated teaser trailer for Christopher Nolan’s latest and supposedly final addition to his Batman series. Whilst a bunch of over excited nerds couldn’t resist filming the trailer and posting it online, suffice to say it looked like a mess and it was hard to decipher what was really going on. Well, now we can bring to you the trailer in all its high definition glory, as well as a recently released poster seen above to accompany it. Enjoy.

(Anyone getting a sense of an Inception-esque style and mood from the poster and trailer?)


Trailer Reel

So here on Inside Film we like to keep you up to date with the latest movie trailers, that way you’re never out of the loop on what films are generating the buzz. This being our first installment of the trailer reel we have a bunch of interesting new trailers for your enjoyment.
First up we have the debut teaser of one of the newest investments from Pixar, Brave.

As some of you may of heard, rumors of a Toy Story 4 are doing the rounds at the moment and looks like Pixar are looking to keep their mantle as the best in the business at animation. Even though early reviews of Pixar’s latest addition, Cars 2, are less then flattering, we have yet to see how well it performs at the box office. Being a company concerned with quality, however, Pixar will be disappointed that they haven’t delivered the high standard we have come to expect from them and with talk of a new Toy Story and a sequel/prequel to Monsters Inc. they may just be looking to go with the heavy hitters to re-instate that seal of quality the Pixar logo represents. Come 2012 however we may see a new classic added to the already stellar list of Pixar products, whilst it is still far too early to hand that title to Brave, being an original entry into the world of fairytales and helmed by the same company that gave us Toy Story and Wall-E, you could be forgiven for expecting a lot from this new title.

Next, we have the trailer for the fourth installment of the Mission Impossible franchise, Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol

Now, I don’t know about you but I was enjoying this trailer right up to the point when Tom Cruise spoke and I remembered oh right, yeah, another one of HIS movies. Alas, if you can excuse my lack of enthusiasm towards Mr. Cruise, I just don’t find him and his ego that much of an enjoyable screen presence, I will try however to look at this from unbiased eyes. Well, one thing can be said is that this doesn’t actually look entirely shit! We all knew it was coming and I was dreading the day when it did to be honest, I mean come on who enjoyed the last two films of the franchise? To me they defined the meaning of mediocre popcorn summer blockbuster. So I was pleasantly surprised when I found myself, shall we say, ‘intrigued’ by this trailer. Maybe the reasoning behind me not being immediately switched off by this is that I have been covertly anticipating what Brad Bird can do with a live action film, if you remember his previous work has only ever been animations, notably the phenomenal film that is The Incredibles, Ratatouille and The Iron Giant, not a bad résumé don’t you think? Still, as much as I am awaiting the final product, a strong sense of ‘I swear I have seen that done before’ can’t help but push through my faint optimism. This may be a positive for Bird for at least he has got the trademarks of the M:I franchise correct, which means expect a lot of high speed, high octane chases, vertigo inducing stunts and what can already be seen from the trailer a lot of Tom Cruise running, really, really slowly but made to look cool and fast. I leave my hopes in the rest of the cast, Simon Pegg and Jeremy Renner to invalidate the presence of Cruise, they might just make it bearable but time will tell if this is better than the last two. Heck, at first glance it sure looks a long way off the first, but any action film set to an Eminem track is going to look naff.

Our third trailer is a film that has been bookmarked in my ones to watch for 2011 for some time now, if it is not already on your radar then you might want to keep an eye on this one, its the impressive looking Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.

With Thomas Alfredson in charge, the director behind Let The Right One In and with a stellar cast of Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, John Hurt, Mark Strong, Tom Hardy and Benedict Cumberbatch, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy has all the right ingredients for a superb spy thriller. As can be seen from the trailer, Alfredson has carried his trademark dark, ominous tones across from his previous work. Based on the British spy novel of the same name by John le Carré, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is set during the Cold War when a semi-retired espionage operative is brought back to uncover a soviet operative buried in MI6. Set to be as thrilling as it will be paranoid, all the right boxes are ticked for Alfredson’s movie to be a hit

To wrap up trailer reel we have the anticipated first trailer of Steven Spielberg’s epic War Horse. A film with clearly one eye on the Oscars.

This just looks incredibly Spielberg-esque to me, maybe it’s the unmistakable score by longtime Spielberg collaborator John Williams that gives me that familiar air of ‘Spielbergness’. Whatever it is, I have spent a lot of my childhood, and I suspect many of you reading have to, becoming familiar with Spielberg’s work and part of me senses that this will be an emotional adventure teeming with bucket loads of sentimentality and charm. Based on a children’s novel set in World War I, War Horse concerns itself with the story of one young man’s bond with his trusty steed, named Joey. The two are forcefully severed as Joey is sent to aid in the war effort. Along the horse’s journey we are shown how he affects the lives of those he comes across and ultimately spins a yarn of friendship, joy and sorrow. Already a successful show on Broadway, War Horse is a well established and loved tale that should entertain those young and old. When all this is coupled with the WWI backdrop, I would say it’s as ripe for the Oscar as any film can be

Julia’s Eyes (Los ojos de Julia) (2010) – Review

Spanish domination of the horror genre continues – 8/10

Dir. Guillem Morales

Having posted some less than glowing reviews in the last few days, I was fearful that Inside Film would be garnering a reputation for negativity. But don’t fear! I watched a film which I actually liked. Be warned, however, this movie is not for the faint hearted.

Spanish newcomer Guillem Morales directs and writes this thriller-come-horror about Julia’s (Belén Rueda) attempts to solve the puzzling death of her blind sister. Both Julia and her sister  Sara have a degenerative eye disease which is worsened by stress and will eventually render Julia blind. After visiting Sara’s house with her husband Isaac (Lluis Homar) to attend the funeral, Julia becomes convinced that the police have it wrong and Sara did not commit suicide. Julia encounters strange clue after strange clue amid various meetings with weirdos, oddball neighbours and a creepy child whose face we never see.

In a rather clichéd manner, neither the police nor the husband believe Julia’s claims that Sara’s death is more than it seems. Therefore, Julia is left to solve this mystery on her own with nail-biting results as she puts herself in countless dangerous situations. Julia’s bravery derives from a strong desire to solve her sister’s death and possibly out of a deep sense of guilt at not supporting Sara as much as she could have done whilst she was alive. Resultantly, we are left with several scenes where you feel like shouting “don’t go down that dark, scary looking alley/flight of stairs/corridor.” This somewhat overplayed horror element gives the film an excellent level of suspense and Morales uses the ‘seeing less is more’ principle to good effect. The narrative moves at a good pace with slow mournful moments being combined with some plodding action sequences and staccato chase scenes.

Morales also employs the central theme of blindness and eyesight to brilliant visual effect with one particularly good scene which uses only the lighting of a camera flash. Julia’s Eyes contains plenty of twists and turns to keep you interested and culminates in a sinister truth which I personally found quite traumatic. Although some may criticise its “turned up to 11” approach I thought this made the film all the more thrilling. A good start from Morales, let’s hope there’s more where that came from.

Bad Teacher (2011) – Review

“Shut the front door!” – Bad title, bad acting, bad plot, bad screenplay, bad movie (yes I know that is a bad joke, but this film has sucked all of the imaginative life out of my brain) – 4/10
Dir. Jake Kasdan

As you may have guessed by the title, the main character, Elizabeth Halsey (Cameron Diaz), is not a very good teacher. But despite appearances, the title hides a clever double meaning – Elizabeth Halsey is BAD (as in naughty). She comes to work drunk and hungover, takes drugs and instead of teaching just puts on movies for her students to watch. Unfortunately it appears that there is a new trend in Hollywood: boring and descriptive movie titles. Even more unfortunate is that the films themselves tend to be equally lacking in imagination.

This is certainly the case with Bad Teacher. The plot consists of Halsey finding a husband who will “take care of me”. In other words – she wants a rich man. Then when the rich substitute teacher Scott Delacorte (Justin Timberlake) turns up she decides that big fake boobs will win him over. But oh no! He doesn’t like Halsey, he likes the sickly sweet Amy Squirrel (Lucy Punch). And then some other unfunny things happen with the intermission of a weird dry-humping scene and in the end Halsey hooks up with the gym teacher Russell Gettis (Jason Segal), who seems like a nice enough bloke. Actually Segal is the best thing in this film but I wouldn’t go so far as to say that there was any actual chemistry between Halsey and Gettis – it just felt like the right direction for the plot to go in.

This film has swapped a storyline capable of running to 1 and a half hours for a load of completely over-the-top characters. Delacorte and Squirrel are extremely annoying and Halsey floats between cringy and ridiculous. Funny lines are few and far between and the director (Jake Kasdan)(personally I was surprised to find this film had a director) tries to use a combination of unbelievable circumstances and stupid characters to make the audience laugh – this tactic gets tiresome very quickly. Bad teacher isn’t bad, it’s shit.

The Hangover Part II – Review

“Holler, city of squalor!” – The wolfpack return to the big screen with a trip to Bangkok but unfortunately this much anticipated sequel is polluted with rehashed gags and reeks of laziness – 5/10

Dir. Todd Phillips

I have to admit, despite my reservations on the frat boy comedies of Todd Phillips, I enjoyed The Hangover. I wasn’t expecting much from the man who gave us the likes of Old School and Road Trip but I doubt that anyone could have foreseen how successful The Hangover was going to be, critically and commercially. It’s not the classic that some would suggest but it did deserve praise for its interesting structure, its decent performances and its attempt to try something relatively new with a style of American comedy that is becoming very stale, fast. Unfortunately, Part II wastes all of this positive innovation on trying to recreate its predecessor exactly! Feeling like The Hangover on Vacation.This time round its dentist Stu’s (Ed Helms) turn to marry off to his wife to be, the wonderful personality vacuum that is Lauren (Jamie Chung). Joined by the good company of best mates Phil (Bradley Cooper), Doug (Justin Bartha) and the juvenile minded Alan (Zach Galifianakis), the wolf pack are reunited and head to Thailand for the wedding. As can be expected with a film title like the Hangover our characters have a bit of trouble staying sober and after all good intentions to have a quiet night on the beach to avoid a repeat of Vegas, they soon find out that they just can’t keep out of trouble. Cut to the next morning and we find all but Doug waking up in a run down apartment somewhere in Bangkok as the realization of what has happened dawns on the disorientated trio. Whilst Doug is safe back at the hotel and bizarrely sidelined for the rest of the movie, Lauren’s younger brother Teddy (Mason Lee) is missing and the eccentric mobster Mr.Chow (Ken Jeong) is inexplicably laying naked, yet again, on the floor. Completely clueless they must piece back together the night and find answers in true Hangover fashion, wallets and pockets are checked, rooftops are searched, steps are retraced and an assortment of seedy, zany and unusual characters are encountered along the way.

All this mayhem and zaniness is in no part helped by the city of Bangkok itself. It has to be said that even more than Vegas, does Bangkok play a pivotal role in the tone of the picture. ‘The City of Squalor’ as Mr. Chow puts it, feels dangerous, seedy and downright filthy, which is probably why The Hangover Part II feels a little rawer and riskier then its predecessor. As you probably have figured by the quick plot synopsis above we get more or less the exact same as we did in The Hangover but with more edge. Hookers may have been in the first film but they certainly weren’t packing the extras that native Thai prostitutes are infamous for. Vegas seemed like a deviant venture for adults but Bangkok just comes across as hazardous to your well-being, coming out of this you’re not going to hear people saying ‘yeah! lets go to Bangkok’ as much as you did with Vegas.

Maybe it is this new raunchier feel that makes The Hangover Part II feel so miscalculated at times, the fun, outlandish vibe of the original is somewhat lost here as it is just not as wickedly funny as it should be. So much of the humor is left to slapstick comedy that got old back in Chaplin’s day let alone the 21st Century. It’s a comedy that Alan revels in with his idiotic behavior but there is only so many times that you can see an idiot fall over and hurt himself and find it funny, leave that buffoonery to Mr. Bean. Interestingly this time round Stu is left with much more to do than the previous film, he is still as nerdy and anxious as ever and The Hangover Part II is very much Stu’s story, it is his wedding after all, therefore a lot of emphasis is placed on salvaging his marriage from the chaos the gang find themselves in. This means that we are presented with a deeper insight into Stu’s character and the film hands the reins over several times to Stu’s comedic elements to take charge. This results in a show of hysteric screaming, jumping and flailing that I found to be a bit jarring and whilst it was fine in small doses, his breakdowns were an unwelcome character development.

Along with the lack of comedy, the story also feels to have been neglected with this second installment. This is mainly due to the rehashed gags and themes that pollute this film – basically it reeks of laziness. For those that have seen the first, I kid you not when I say the sequel offers nothing new here – it’s like a poor replica. The EXACT same framework/formula is used and the scenes fit perfectly with how they played out the first time round. Why have they done this? fear of change, sloppy writing or just out of convenience, I will never know but it’s embarrassing that the writers couldn’t conjure up anything new for the sequel. Revisits of certain scenes like Stu’s mid-movie comedy song, the anxiety back at the wedding preparations and Phil’s phone call to Doug’s wife are just completely lifted from the first film and pasted in. the lack of creativity here is astounding! What was Todd Phillips aiming to accomplish when he decided to make the same movie again. Now I know what some would say: ‘that if its not broke then why fix it?’ but this just doesn’t apply here. Everything that could have been funny is completely lost because of the lack of uniqueness. Just using the same structure in a different setting does not warrant an hour and forty two minute film. That said, it is not without merit – it is littered with amusing individual moments and I found a few laughs are there – but this was well under-par for a sequel to 2009’s breakout comedy.

In all honesty I struggle to see this film as a complete failure as I have no doubts it will do well at the box office and will spawn a third installment to the franchise. If they use the same formula again, however, I can’t imagine people will have the time for it.  I left the cinema feeling that The Hangover Part II was more like a poor remake instead of a sequel, a sort of groggy, sluggish hangover in its self, its really not worth the headache.

Green Lantern (2011) – Review

Marks another addition to the long list of formulaic, special-effects laden superhero films designed for 11-year-olds – 3/10
Dir. Martin Campbell
So here we have yet another superhero movie – Green Lantern, with Ryan Renolds as Hal Jordan playing alongside Blake Lively as the love interest and a host of semi-interesting bit-parts played by Tim Robbins, Mark Strong, Temuera Morrison and Peter Sarsgaard. I know what you’re thinking, and I thought the same thing: not another crappy superhero flick with lots of special effects and nothing creative or entertaining. Unfortunately those suspicions turned out to be pretty much correct, which is a shame because I have quite enjoyed watching Ryan Renolds in previous films.

So, before explaining why it’s sub-par, I suppose I should write a synopsis. Hal Jordan is a disorganised, irresponsible, arrogant but talented pilot. Jordan crashes a fighter plane during a dangerous manoeuvre in a test flight, but the real reason for the crash is an underlying fear of dying just like his father, whilst flying a plane. Then, out of nowhere, Jordan gets selected to become a Green Lantern, a member of an elite team who protect the universe against all evils. The Lanterns wear a ring which channels the power of will to bestow them with almost unlimited power. However, there is a great enemy who is using a rival power – fear – to destroy the Lanterns and the many peoples of the universe. After an initial rejection of his new superhero status (because of his fear and inadequacies) as well as a  pretty frosty welcome to the  Lantern clan by Sinestro (Strong), Jordan takes it upon himself to save the earth and defeat the great evil: Parallax. To do this he must overcome his fear and inadequacies to embody the will of the Green Lanterns.

Green Lantern is different from other superhero films (X-Men, Batman, Hulk) because it swaps the conventional earthly surroundings with some intergalactic space action and otherworldly planets far far away. But aside from this it doesn’t really boldly go anywhere different and marks another addition to the long list of formulaic, special-effects laden superhero films designed for 11-year-olds.

Whilst trying to emphasise Jordan’s psychological problems, they’ve made his character overly self-conscious and taken away much of Renolds’ charm. So despite an over-the-top but essentially entertaining bad guy routine from Sarsgaard as the crazy Dr. Hector Hammond this film has little to commend it. Too much exposure for the love story, which seems to focus on terrible conversations between Jordan and Carol Ferris (Lively) about their shared childhood (when we were kids is said about 10 times), is just the outstanding example of a very weak script.

All in all, not really worth watching – unless of course you’re 11 years old and still have the patience/ lack of intelligence for this crap.