Friday, 30 June 2017

New IMAX one sheet for Spider-Man: Homecoming arrives online

Sony Pictures and Marvel have just released their IMAX one sheet for Jon Watts' (Cop Car) Spider-Man: Homecoming.





Spider-Man: Homecoming finds Tom Holland's (The Impossible) Peter Parker dealing with events following Captain America: Civil War. He is back in Queens and must juggle the stresses and strains of high school life while taking on villains such as Michael Keaton's (Birdman) Vulture.

Marisa Tomei's (The Wrestler) Aunt May, who we first met briefly alongside Peter in Captain America: Civil War, is back for this one, as is Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark. Logan Marshall-Green (Prometheus), Donald Glover (Community), Michael Mando (Orphan Black), Tony Revolori (Dope), Bokeem Woodbine (Total Recall), Kenneth Choi (The Wolf Of Wall Street), Abraham Attah (Beasts Of No Nation), Martin Starr (Silicon Valley) and singer and actress Zendaya are also on board.

Spider-Man: Homecoming will swing into UK cinemas on 7 July.

Sunday, 25 June 2017

New character one sheets for Spider-Man: Homecoming arrive online

Sony Pictures and Marvel have just released three new character one sheets for Jon Watts' (Cop Car) Spider-Man: Homecoming.











Spider-Man: Homecoming finds Tom Holland's (The Impossible) Peter Parker dealing with events following Captain America: Civil War. He is back in Queens and must juggle the stresses and strains of high school life while taking on villains such as Michael Keaton's (Birdman) Vulture.

Marisa Tomei's (The Wrestler) Aunt May, who we first met briefly alongside Peter in Captain America: Civil War, is back for this one, as is Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark. Logan Marshall-Green (Prometheus), Donald Glover (Community), Michael Mando (Orphan Black), Tony Revolori (Dope), Bokeem Woodbine (Total Recall), Kenneth Choi (The Wolf Of Wall Street), Abraham Attah (Beasts Of No Nation), Martin Starr (Silicon Valley) and singer and actress Zendaya are also on board.

Spider-Man: Homecoming will swing into UK cinemas on 7 July.

Saturday, 24 June 2017

New one sheet for Annabelle: Creation arrives online

Warner Bros have just released a new trailer and one sheet for David F. Sandberg's (Lights Out) Annabelle: Creation.





With a fresh new title – Annabelle: Creation – Creepy doll Annabelle is back for a sequel to The Conjuring's (2013) spinoff sleeper hit.

Written once again by Annabelle (2014) writer Gary Dauberman, Annabelle: Creation focuses on the doll maker who created the grinning fiend in the first place. Twenty years after their daughter died tragically, the craftsman (Anthony LaPaglia) and his scarred wife (Miranda Otto) welcome a nun (Stephanie Sigman) and several girls from an orphanage that recently had to close. Unfortunately for the new arrivals, the possessed doll is none too pleased with the new house guests.

Annabelle: Creation will creep into UK cinemas on 11 August.

New one sheet for Spider-Man: Homecoming arrives online

Sony Pictures and Marvel have just released their latest one sheet for Jon Watts' (Cop Car) Spider-Man: Homecoming.





Spider-Man: Homecoming finds Tom Holland's (The Impossible) Peter Parker dealing with events following Captain America: Civil War. He is back in Queens and must juggle the stresses and strains of high school life while taking on villains such as Michael Keaton's (Birdman) Vulture.

Marisa Tomei's (The Wrestler) Aunt May, who we first met briefly alongside Peter in Captain America: Civil War, is back for this one, as is Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark. Logan Marshall-Green (Prometheus), Donald Glover (Community), Michael Mando (Orphan Black), Tony Revolori (Dope), Bokeem Woodbine (Total Recall), Kenneth Choi (The Wolf Of Wall Street), Abraham Attah (Beasts Of No Nation), Martin Starr (Silicon Valley) and singer and actress Zendaya are also on board.

Spider-Man: Homecoming will swing into UK cinemas on 7 July.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

New one sheet for Spider-Man: Homecoming arrives online

Sony Pictures and Marvel have just released their latest one sheet for Jon Watts' (Cop Car) Spider-Man: Homecoming.





Spider-Man: Homecoming finds Tom Holland's (The Impossible) Peter Parker dealing with events following Captain America: Civil War. He is back in Queens and must juggle the stresses and strains of high school life while taking on villains such as Michael Keaton's (Birdman) Vulture.

Marisa Tomei's (The Wrestler) Aunt May, who we first met briefly alongside Peter in Captain America: Civil War, is back for this one, as is Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark. Logan Marshall-Green (Prometheus), Donald Glover (Community), Michael Mando (Orphan Black), Tony Revolori (Dope), Bokeem Woodbine (Total Recall), Kenneth Choi (The Wolf Of Wall Street), Abraham Attah (Beasts Of No Nation), Martin Starr (Silicon Valley) and singer and actress Zendaya are also on board.

Spider-Man: Homecoming will swing into UK cinemas on 7 July.

Saturday, 17 June 2017

New one sheet for Ferdinand arrives online

20th Century Fox have just released their latest one sheet for Carlos Saldanha's (Rio) Ferdinand.





Inspired by the 1936 children's book The Story Of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf and Robert Lawson, the film introduces us to Ferdinand (John Cena), a giant bull with an even bigger heart. Rather than getting in the bullfighting ring, he is happy to spend time making friends and smelling flowers. But when he is mistaken for a dangerous beast, he is captured and taken from his home. To get back, he will need help from a misfit team and more courage than he is used to summoning.

The voice cast for this one also includes Kate McKinnon (Ghostbusters), David Tennant (Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire), Sally Phillips (Bridget Jones Diary) and Gina Rodriguez (Jane The Virgin), and the movie will be out on 15 December. Which means it will be going up against Star Wars: The Last Jedi. That is certainly one brave bull...

New one sheet for War For The Planet Of The Apes arrives online

20th Century Fox have just released their latest Banksy inspired one sheet for Matt Reeves' Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes (2014) follow-up, War For The Planet Of The Apes.





Directed once again by Reeves, War For The Planet Of The Apes finds ape leader Caesar (Andy Serkis) and his intelligence boosted simian brethren forced into a deadly conflict with an army of humans led by a ruthless Colonel. After the apes suffer unimaginable losses, Caesar wrestles with his darker instincts and begins his own mythic quest to avenge his kind. As the journey finally brings them face to face, Caesar and the Colonel (Woody Harrelson) are pitted against each other in an epic battle that will determine the fate of both their species and the future of the planet.

With Steve Zahn (Dallas Buyers Club) also in the cast, alongside returning ape performers Judy Greer, Karin Konoval and Terry Notary (Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes), War For The Planet Of The Apes will arrive in cinemas 14 July.

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

New one sheet for Transformers: The Last Knight arrives online

Paramount Pictures have just released their latest one sheet for Michael Bay's Transformers: Age Of Extinction (2014) follow-up Transformers: The Last Knight.





The fifth Transformers instalment finds the relationship between Transformers and humans at an all-time low, with war raging and Optimus Prime still gone, off in space. The answer to saving the future may lie in the past, and humanity will need an unlikely alliance, including Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg), Sir Edmund Burton (Anthony Hopkins), professor Vivian Wembley (Laura Haddock) and Lt. Colonel William Lennox (Josh Duhamel). Quite what it all means, and how King Arthur fits into the story remains to be seen.

Expect the usual Bayhem, who is saying once again that he is handing the reins off after this one, looking to finish his time at the Transformers helm with a bang.

With a script by Matt Holloway, Art Marcum (Iron Man), and Ken Nolan (Black Hawk Down), Transformers: The Last Knight will explode into cinemas on 23 June.

Sunday, 11 June 2017

New one sheet for The Mummy arrives online

Universal Pictures have just released their latest one sheet for Alex Kurtzman's (People Like Us) The Mummy.





As Universal Pictures prepares to breath new life into their classic monster creature features while combining them into the current hot trend for shared cinematic universes, The Mummy represents one of the big main shots at launching this linked set of stories.

With Tom Cruise (Edge Of Tomorrow) as soldier Nick Morton and Sofia Boutella (Kingsman: The Secret Service) playing the title character, Ahmanet, the stage is set for a sandstorm of new action and chases as the supernatural threat re-emerges. It is just the latest take on a story that has been told many times on screen, though this one will mean another new start, ignoring the more recent Stephen Sommers movies. Cruise has a brush with death and Russell Crowe's (Man Of Steel) Dr. Jekyll welcomes him to a world of gods and monsters.

Alex Kurtzman directs from a script that has been work from Jon Spaihts (Prometheus) and Christopher McQuarrie (Jack Reacher), and The Mummy is out in cinemas now.

Saturday, 10 June 2017

New one sheet for Transformers: The Last Knight arrives online

Paramount Pictures have just released their latest one sheet for Michael Bay's Transformers: Age Of Extinction (2014) follow-up Transformers: The Last Knight.





The fifth Transformers instalment finds the relationship between Transformers and humans at an all-time low, with war raging and Optimus Prime still gone, off in space. The answer to saving the future may lie in the past, and humanity will need an unlikely alliance, including Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg), Sir Edmund Burton (Anthony Hopkins), professor Vivian Wembley (Laura Haddock) and Lt. Colonel William Lennox (Josh Duhamel). Quite what it all means, and how King Arthur fits into the story remains to be seen.

Expect the usual Bayhem, who is saying once again that he is handing the reins off after this one, looking to finish his time at the Transformers helm with a bang.

With a script by Matt Holloway, Art Marcum (Iron Man), and Ken Nolan (Black Hawk Down), Transformers: The Last Knight will explode into cinemas on 23 June.

New trailer and one sheet for Coco arrives online

Walt Disney Pictures and Pixar Animation Studios' have just released a new trailer and one sheet for Lee Unkrich (Toy Story 3) and Adrian Molina's Coco.





Written by Molina, Coco is the story of young Mexican Miguel (Antony Gonzalez), who wants to be a music legend like his hero, Ernesto de la Cruz (Benjamin Bratt). But there is a problem – music has been banned in Miguel's family for years, but no one will quite tell him why.

Yet when our hero (accompanied by loyal canine Dante) accidentally finds a way into the Land of the Dead, he teams up with a trickster named Hector (Gael Garcia Bernal) and sets out to discover the truth.

Cheech Marin, Edward James Olmos, Renee Victor and Sofia Espinosa also feature in the voice cast for the film, which is heading to US cinemas for Thanksgiving, but frustratingly now won't reach UK screens until 19 January next year.



New one sheet for War For The Planet Of The Apes arrives online

20th Century Fox have just released their latest one sheet for Matt Reeves' Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes (2014) follow-up, War For The Planet Of The Apes.





Directed once again by Reeves, War For The Planet Of The Apes finds ape leader Caesar (Andy Serkis) and his intelligence boosted simian brethren forced into a deadly conflict with an army of humans led by a ruthless Colonel. After the apes suffer unimaginable losses, Caesar wrestles with his darker instincts and begins his own mythic quest to avenge his kind. As the journey finally brings them face to face, Caesar and the Colonel (Woody Harrelson) are pitted against each other in an epic battle that will determine the fate of both their species and the future of the planet.

With Steve Zahn (Dallas Buyers Club) also in the cast, alongside returning ape performers Judy Greer, Karin Konoval and Terry Notary (Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes), War For The Planet Of The Apes will arrive in cinemas 14 July.

New one sheet for Rough Night arrives online

Sony Pictures have just released their latest one sheet for Lucia Aniello's (Broad City) Rough Night.





With Bridesmaids (2011) and Bad Moms (2016) finding success at the box office, it is good to see more female led comedies hitting screens. The latest, launched with a silly, riotous, red band trailer finds Scarlett Johansson (Lucy) having a Rough Night.

Formerly under the title Rock That Body, Rough Night stars Johansson as Jess, a bride-to-be heading with her college friends for a wild bachelorette trip. Joining her on the trip are Zoë Kravitz's (Mad Max: Fury Road) Blair, Jillian Bell's (22 Jump Street) Alice, Kate McKinnon's (Ghostbusters) Pippa and Ilana Glazer's (The Night Before) Frankie, intending to drink, party and otherwise have a good time. But events take a darker turn when the male stripper they hire for some entertainment accidentally dies... And then the question becomes whether they cover up the death or admit what happened.

Coming across as movies such as the aforementioned Bad Moms, The Hangover (2009) and Very Bad Things (1998), blended together in a cocktail shaker, Rough Night is directed by Broad City veteran Lucia Aniello, who also wrote the script alongside fellow City writer Paul W. Downs, who appears in the movie.

Rough Night will arrive in cinemas 16 June.

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Listen to a new compilation album of cover songs from Sofia Coppola films

Next months sees the release of American director Sofia Coppola's (Somewhere) latest film The Beguiled. To celebrate the film's imminent release, Super Fan 99 Records have announced a movie themed 50th release inspired by the films of Coppola, comprising covers of songs featured in her movies.





"We've been long time admirers of Sofia Coppola's movies since renting The Virgin Suicides (1999) from our local Blockbuster," says the record label about the release. "Film after film was soundtracked with the most impeccable selections playing a key role in the overall aesthetic of her movies. It seems the part the music plays in transporting you to her worlds has not gone unnoticed with the vinyl soundtracks of Lost In Translation (2003) and Marie Antoinette (2006) sometimes selling for up to £300 a piece.

"We asked bands from our label and beyond to choose songs from the soundtracks and cover them for this unique release and the response was great. Bands from as far a field as China, New Zealand and Scotland have contributed tracks ranging from lo-fi bedroom 4 track recordings to full band studio versions and we are now very excited to present 'Sofia Songs' The compilation marks the 50th release on the label and perfectly marries our love of film and DIY music culture."

Illustrator and long time Super Fan collaborator Kieran Gabriel has designed the sleeve and each boxed cassette copy will also include a movie script style guide book with detailed facts on each movie and it's music. Songs by Air, Phoenix, Frank Ocean, My Bloody Valentine and many more have been reworked by popular Super Fan bands.





Sofia Songs will be released via superfan99records.com on 7 July. You can check out the full track list below:

1. Sugar Candy Mountain - Playground Love (Air cover from The Virgin Suicides)
2. Winter - City Girl (Kevin Shields cover from Lost In Translation)
3. JUNKS - Hong Kong Garden (Siouxsie and the Banshees cover from Marie Antoniette)
4. Mooncall - I'll Try Anything Once (Julian Casablancas cover from Somewhere)
5. The Pooches - What's So Funny Bout Peace, Love and Understanding? (Elvis Costello cover from Lost In Translation)
6. Lips - Super Rich Kids (Frank Ocean cover from The Bling Ring)
7. Dot Plaza  - Too Young (Phoenix cover from Lost In Translation)
8. Mtbrd - So Far Away (Carole King cover from The Virgin Suicides)
9. Calvin Love - I'm Not In Love (10cc cover from The Virgin Suicides)
10. Free Cake For Every Creature - Just Like Honey (The Jesus and Mary Chain cover from Lost In Translation)
11. Patsy's Rats - More Than This (Roxy Music cover from Lost In Translation)
12. Queen of Jeans - Cool (Gwen Stefani cover from Somewhere)
13. Husband Material - Bad Girls (MIA cover from The Bling Ring)
14. Matt McKee - What Ever Happened? (The Strokes cover from Marie Antoinette)

The Beguiled, meanwhile, arrives in cinemas on 14 July.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

From Johnny Depp to Kurt Russell: How de-aging stars has become Hollywood's digital effects trick du jour

When a young version of Johnny Depp's zany Jack Sparrow appears in a flashback in Walt Disney Picture's Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, it became the latest example of the use of digital effects to de-age an actor for the purpose of having them appear in a flashback.





Moviegoers saw another example of the technology being used last month, when James Gunn's Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 introduced a young Kurt Russell as his character, Ego. Walt Disney Pictures and Marvel are clearly comfortable with taking this route, as they have also brought audiences a young version of Michael Douglas in Ant-Man (2015) and Robert Downey Jr. in Captain America: Civil War (2016).

"It definitely seems to be a trend," says Industrial Light & Magic animation supervisor Hal Hickel, who won an Academy Award® for Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006) and recently completed Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016). "It may be because it's been done successfully and filmmakers realize it's an option in telling a story, or maybe it has opened up an option that they need."

For Ed Ulbrich, president of visual effects and virtual reality at Deluxe (the parent of visual effects houses Method an Iloura), the use of this sort of work can be attributed to this "age of franchises, and the franchises are prequels and sequels and spinoffs. These stories go omnidirectional in time. Some of the characters become iconic. But we all get older."

"It's very unforgiving – you either get it right or it's glaringly obvious," says Weta visual effects supervisor and two-time Oscar nominee Guy Williams (Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2) of these techniques.

So how exactly does it work?

Methods vary, but Christopher Townsend, visual effects supervisor on Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2, explains the creation of the digital Kurt Russell, created by one of the film's digital effects houses, Lola, which has earned a reputation for specialising in this sort of work. It started with collecting and examining 1980s photos of Russell as well as his films from that period, such as Big Trouble In Little China (1986), to come up with the desired look.

Next, director James Gunn and Lola cast actor Aaron Schwartz – in making the decision, Lola identified several actors with similar facial structure and Gunn brought them in for screen tests.

For filming, both Russell and Schwartz were identically dressed and makeup was applied to Russell to give him a younger appearance, with both actors wearing tracking markers on their faces for reference. First Russell performed the scene, and then Schwartz would step in and perform the same scene, mimicking what Russell did. Through visual effects, these takes were combined with some additional digital effects to create the final look and performance, frame by frame. "We cut and pasted pieces of Aaron's geometry," Townsend explains. "The geometry of the face changed, for instance his neck became fuller. We reshaped the jaw, chin, neck, lips – very specific details. It involved understanding the physiology of the human face.

"The technology is getting better, but it's really the artists, that's the key," he emphasised. "It was a huge amount of work – months and months of artists working at computers."

The digital Robert Downey Jr. from Captain America: Civil War and digital Michael Douglas in Ant-Man were both used for flashbacks and achieved in much the same way, says Townsend, who was also visual effects supervisor on those films.

Monday, 5 June 2017

Three new banners for The Mummy arrive online

Universal Pictures have just released three new banners for Alex Kurtzman's (People Like Us) The Mummy.











As Universal Pictures prepares to breath new life into their classic monster creature features while combining them into the current hot trend for shared cinematic universes, The Mummy represents one of the big main shots at launching this linked set of stories.

With Tom Cruise (Edge Of Tomorrow) as soldier Nick Morton and Sofia Boutella (Kingsman: The Secret Service) playing the title character, Ahmanet, the stage is set for a sandstorm of new action and chases as the supernatural threat re-emerges. It is just the latest take on a story that has been told many times on screen, though this one will mean another new start, ignoring the more recent Stephen Sommers movies. Cruise has a brush with death and Russell Crowe's (Man Of Steel) Dr. Jekyll welcomes him to a world of gods and monsters.

Alex Kurtzman directs from a script that has been work from Jon Spaihts (Prometheus) and Christopher McQuarrie (Jack Reacher), and The Mummy will be out on 9 June.

Sunday, 4 June 2017

New quad poster for The Mummy arrives online

Universal Pictures have just released their latest quad poster for Alex Kurtzman's (People Like Us) The Mummy.





As Universal Pictures prepares to breath new life into their classic monster creature features while combining them into the current hot trend for shared cinematic universes, The Mummy represents one of the big main shots at launching this linked set of stories.

With Tom Cruise (Edge Of Tomorrow) as soldier Nick Morton and Sofia Boutella (Kingsman: The Secret Service) playing the title character, Ahmanet, the stage is set for a sandstorm of new action and chases as the supernatural threat re-emerges. It is just the latest take on a story that has been told many times on screen, though this one will mean another new start, ignoring the more recent Stephen Sommers movies. Cruise has a brush with death and Russell Crowe's (Man Of Steel) Dr. Jekyll welcomes him to a world of gods and monsters.

Alex Kurtzman directs from a script that has been work from Jon Spaihts (Prometheus) and Christopher McQuarrie (Jack Reacher), and The Mummy will be out on 9 June.

Saturday, 3 June 2017

New one sheet for The Handmaiden arrives online

Curzon Artificial Eye have just released their latest one sheet for Park Chan-wook's (Stoker) The Handmaiden.





If The Handmaiden, Park Chan-wook's follow-up to US set thriller Stoker (2013), takes the filmmaker back to his Asia roots, it still has a strong Western thread running through it. Sarah Water's novel Fingersmith is the source material for a byzantine period thriller full of twists and turns.

The Handmaiden tells the story of a beautiful Japanese heiress (Min-hee Kim), the young con artist (Kim Tae-ri) hired as her handmaiden, and the puppet master behind a scheme designed to relieve her mistress of her fortune.

Waters' book had already been adapted by the BBC in a 2005 miniseries. Park Chan-wook's version, a terrific potboiler filled with stunning visuals and elegant storytelling, shifts the setting from Victorian England to Korea under Japanese rule.

The Handmaiden is out in cinemas now.

New character one sheets for Cars 3 arrive online

Walt Disney Pictures and Pixar Animation Studios' have just released a new batch of character one sheets for storyboard artist Brian Fee's directorial debut Cars 3.











They may not enjoy the same critical, and indeed commercial reputation as some of their Pixar stablemates on purely theatrical terms, but there is no denying that the Cars films bring in serious dollars when it comes to toys and other spin-offs. But the Emeryville team doesn't just think of that aspect, and the story for Cars 3 seems to be headed down a slightly darker path.

Darker, of course, is relative, but this is a series of films that hasn't strayed from oddly dark themes – witness a car being tortured in the James Bond riffing Cars 2 (2011). This time around, the film is focusing on Lightning McQueen (Owen Wilson), once the young hotshot of the track, now an older veteran struggling to keep up with the competition. He is especially challenged by newcomer Jackson Storm (Armie Hammer) and will need a little help from technician Cruz Ramirez (Cristela Alonzo) if he is to match up.

Cars 3 will arrives in UK cinemas on 14 July, crossing the cinematic chequered flag a little under a month after its US debut on the 16 June.

"The dead have taken command of the sea. They're searching for a girl, a Pearl, and a Sparrow!"

Six years after we last rode the high seas with Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011), Johnny Depp returns to his signature role as the rum addled buccaneer. With his ship the Black Pearl now shrunken inside a tiny bottle, he is even more hapless than usual, in charge of a bare-bones vessel named the Dying Gull. This is not a bad omen, as Pirates Of The Caribbean: Salazar's Revenge is a hugely enjoyable ride.





With the theme of parenthood woven throughout Jeff Nathanson's (Catch Me If You Can) script, Salazar's Revenge introduces new directors, new heroes and one of the best Pirates villains the franchise has seen in the shape of Javier Bardem's (Skyfall) snarling Salazar.

Stuck in the Devil's Triangle, this ghostly captain – brilliantly augmented with digital effects – seeks vengeance on Sparrow for reasons that become clear later on. "He took everything from me and filled me with rage and pain," he spits, lashings of tarlike goo pouring from his mouth.

Also entwined in the story is Henry (Brenton Thwaites), son to Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) and Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley), who is desperate to unlock his father from his undersea curse. When Henry encounters Salazar, it leads him to Sparrow, as well as Kaya Scodelario's (The Maze Runner) orphan astronomer Carina, "a woman of science" who is probably the only one smart enough to find the Trident of Poseidon, the ocean controlling, curse lifting MacGuffin that everyone is after. And in case you were missing him, Geoffrey Rush's now wealthy rival pirate Barbossa gets roped in, too.

Norwegian directing duo Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg (Kon-Tiki) nail their first major blockbuster with some aplomb. The pacing is spot-on, the set pieces memorable and all the characters are allowed to shine, without it ever becoming Depp focused.

Standout moments include the opening bank robbery, an execution scene complete with swinging guillotine and Salazar unleashing some ghostly sharks – scarily effective when watched in in 3D.

Led by Depp, the humour is salty but not to excess. Thwaites and Scodelario are quite watchable, with their 12A romance bubbling under, and Bardem, if not let fully off the leash, still clearly has a ball as the villain.

With a couple of neat cameos too, including a certain musician who rivals Keith Richards' turn in the earlier Pirates movies, it is certainly the most enjoyable entry since series starter Pirates Of The Caribbean: The Curse of The Black Pearl (2003). Factor in a surprisingly satisfying finale – emotional, romantic, swashbuckling – it is everything you could want from a Pirates Of The Caribbean movie.

A rollicking romp, with everybody on top form, this is a summer blockbuster par excellence. Now where's the rum?





New one sheet for Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets arrives online

Lionsgate have just released their latest one sheet for Luc Besson's (Léon: The Professional) science fiction epic Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets.





French filmmaker Luc Besson has dabbled in action movies in recent years – Taken, Lucy, to name but two high concept disyllabic franchises – but he is now heading back to the colourful science fiction territory of his cult favourite The Fifth Element (1997) with Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets.

Based on the French graphic novel series Valérian and Laureline, this idiosyncratic space opera finds the titular Valerian (Dane DeHaan) and Laureline (Cara Delevingne) as special operatives for the human territories who are part of the force maintaining order in the galaxy. They are dispatched by Commander Filitt (Clive Owen) to head to the enormous city of Alpha, a sprawling, ever evolving city that is home to thousands of species from all parts of the universe. And though it seems to be a peaceful utopia working for the good of all its inhabitants, dark forces are lurking under the surface, and the entire human race might be in danger.

With Ethan Hawke (Boyhood), Rutger Hauer (Blade Runner), Rihanna (Battleship), Herbie Hancock (Hitters) and John Goodman (Argo) also aboard, Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets promises to be his Besson's largest film yet.

Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets will arrive in cinemas on 21 July.

Thursday, 1 June 2017

"You got one job, make sure swimming happy white people don't drown."

On paper, Baywatch sounds ripe with guilty pleasure – an update on one of the most popular, and cheesy, TV shows of all time, played for giggles and filled with beautiful people wearing very little. On screen, however, Baywatch flounders. If you are hoping for the meta yet mainstream, smart and stupid fun of the Jump Street movies, lower your expectations. Better still, re-watch the Jump Street movies instead...





It starts slickly enough, with an extended homage to the show's signature slow motion style. A sea rescue climaxes in the movie's title rising with tacky grandeur from the ocean, behind the rippling physique of alpha lifeguard Mitch Buchannon (Dwayne Johnson).

Oddly, such over the top flourishes turn out to be few and far between. A couple more might have eased the overstretched plod of the plot, which has two strands – one centred on a drug trafficking operation masterminded by slinky villain Victoria Leeds (Bollywood star Priyanka Chopra), the other on drafting and moulding new recruits to the squad.

The 'thriller' side of the story is sub CSI stuff whose mysteries are resolved with feeble ease, while the character driven scenes don't actually have much character, or drive. For all the chatter about the importance of working as a team, Baywatch is really a bromance between Mitch and bad boy newcomer Matt Brody (Zac Efron) – no one else really gets much of a look in.

There is an almost endearing beauty and the geek flirtation between C.J. (Kelly Rohrbach) and 'tech guy' Ronnie (Jon Bass) – but they, like several others, flit in and out so much that you almost forget who they are.

Alexandra Daddario's (San Andreas) earnest Summer gets a slightly better deal – or at least more screen time, though she mostly just tags along with Mitch and Matt, offering wide eyed reaction shots at their exploits.

Daddario's presence alongside Johnson conjures the spirit of San Andreas (2015), a disaster flick defined by its inadvertent hilarity. Alas, Baywatch isn't a film to be laughed at, let alone with. Any flair for comic timing director Seth Gordon flexed on Horrible Bosses (2011) is absent without leave here.

It hardly helps that the script is awash with zingers with no zing and lines that aim for edgy but are just in poor taste: "You're like the Stephen Hawking of swimming, without the paralysis part." Similarly off colour is a strain of casual homophobia that reaches its nadir in a morgue set piece.

So, are there any signs of life here? Well, there is Yahya Abdul-Mateen II (The Get Down) as a cop whose exasperation at Mitch's antics is Baywatch's best – and only – running joke.

Unfunny, unthrilling and unsexy, Baywatch doesn't even reach the incredibly low bar set by the source material.