Tom Cruise and Cobie Smulders talk Jack Reacher at Never Go Back Premiere

The grey skies wane over Leicester Square as a chill catches the air, sending shivers down your spine. Within a boxed off area, a select few are privy an unfurled red carpet as slight smoke catches the air and the greatest movie star, Tom Cruise, walks the Jack Reacher: Never Go Back premiere.

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For a man who has spent three decades at the height of popular film culture arrives half an hour before his co-stars appear. The illusion is that he’d want the red carpet to himself, but really, it’s so he can meet every single fan who has been wailing his name since 7am this morning. Though the blistering dance music thuds away as the daytime twists into night, Cruise, Cobie Smulders, and the rest of the Jack Reacher cast and crew are in high spirits about the latest action movie release.

““It’s the character,” says Cruise as We Make Movies on Weekends asked him what makes the character so likeable to audiences. The popular hero based on a series of novels by Lee Child sees Cruise re-take the titular role and join forces with Major Susan Turner, accused of espionage. With a chiselled white smile, and a dazzling personality, he cheerily answers about Reacher’s popularity:  “The plots are just conceived to a point where you can only see this character in it. And I think that kinda makes things. What we were able to do with him meant we could challenge him emotionally and physically.  It’s an entertaining character and he does outrageous things.”

Speaking of challenges emotionally, despite performing in countless action films, he admits the fighting was more intense. “There were a few bruises and bumps with this one. When you are doing fights like these, no matter how hard you train, it’s always challenging. The guys who I did it with are very, very skilled and  you gotta go hard with them. Reacher has a unique fighting style that I love, it’s really fun to play – quite abruptly brutal and very entertaining.”

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Opposite him as Major Susan Turner is Cobie Smulders who shot to fame in the Avengers Series and television show How I Met Your Mother (Note: I’d also watch indie flick Results because she is stellar in it.) Here she plays a sparring character who is able to trade blows alongside Jack Reacher as a tough, capable woman. Tonight, donned in all white, Cobie is down to earth and jokey with the excitable press. Talking of Turner, Cobie states: “She’s a really great character and a woman who has gone through a lot very capable very strong, she and Jack Reacher become sort of comrades. And the goal for them is to find these people who actually committed the crime that she was charged for.”

The film is made up of three components: Smulders, Cruise, and young actress Danika Yarosh. Cobie enthuses that the relationship was great between all three: “There were a lot of days where it was just the three of us. We all got along very well. It was good.”

Smiling cheerily in the chill (she’s Canadian so this is really like summer for her,) Cobie reminisces on her favourite moments saying: “We shot this film in New Orleans. It was an amazing town and we were filming this Halloween sequence. It was really intense.”

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That third component, Danika Yarosh is the most elevated her, despite having an already lengthy career at a young age of 18. For a young actress, playing alongside heavyweight Cruise must’ve been something of a triumph. “He’s so kind and so down to earth,” he speaks of the Academy Award winner. “It’s so refreshing, he is so passionate about what he’s doing. Every actor I’ve worked with has a despondency, and he really loves his work.”

Her character and, for some, the actress, there is a lot of mystery about her involvement in  Jack Reacher: Never Go Back. Danika explains: “Turner, Reacher and she (character Samantha Dayton) are on this journey to discovery and to find out what is really happening. Sam is closeted and thrown around the country her life and very independent and very head strong and confident and she’s kind of a lot like Reacher. She’s too mature for her age and used to being alone. There is a weird dynamic between her, Reacher, and Turner and they are head-butting a lot but they rely on each other and it’s so cool to play this turning relationship”

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Director Edward Zwick is keen to make sure that Danika and Cobie are strong characters within the Jack Reacher canon. “I love working with strong actors of all kinds. Three strong characters bouncing off each other in very tight situations.”

But at the hub, of course, is the epitomes Reacher and Zwick is glad to have Tom Cruise on board. “It’s his intensity (Tom.) The character is a man who cannot be stopped and that’s where you’ll find Tom too.”

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Producer Don Granger concurs that all in Cruise that Reacher develops: “It’s a kick ass actor and Cruise is always working.” Granger later says about the character: “The essence of Jack Reacher is very simple. He is the cowboy who comes off the range on his horse to bring justice for a small down. He’s a knight in shining armour from the middle ages, there’s something incredibly alluring about that solitary character.”

But there isn’t a lack of praise of Smulders as Granger points out: “I’ve been a fan of her for years. My kids actually got me watching How I Met Your Mother. In the show, she excudes intelligence and a very strong women. In the Marvel movies, she played another strong woman and I knew there was no other choice [for the role].”

“From a storytellers point of few, it was Cobie – the whole movie depended on her. She was good and therefore the movie was good,” says Lee Child, the author of the Jack Reacher novels and creator of this world. Praising Smulders, he also has a kind word for Donika, “She has a future ahead, people are going to go away thinking she’ll be a huge star.”

As the glorious and gorgeous stars are whipped into the warmth of the cinema, there is one question on our minds: Do you think we’ll ever go back to Jack Reacher after tonight’s premiere?

Well, we’ll certainly Cruise onto the next film – that’s for sure.

(Author’s Note: Here’s a little video of Tom Cruise that was cut off when I got over excited.)


Jack Reacher: Never Go Back is out in cinemas now! 

Logan – Brand New Trailer!

There are a lot of stories out there that need the big screen treatment. Whether they are important historical films or interesting entertainment movies, we can all agree that there is a countless amount of possible movies that could develop into greatness…

A new Wolverine film is not one of them.

Aptly named Logan, in case you were sick of seeing Wolverine’s name plastered on everything alongside Hugh Jackman’s mutton chops revolves around an older version of the immortal ageless mutant as he navigates new obstacles.

There is only one thing I really wanted to say to this:

But it’s actually a really interesting, gritty, and dark trailer. What do you think?


Logan is out 2017

 

BFI London Film Festival: Dearest Sister – Review

Supernatural elements have long been used to explore or expose social issues with in film. Films such as Rosemary’s Baby all revolve around the supernatural as well as a social human story. The same can be said for Mattie Do’s second feature length film Dearest Sister.

The film gives us two strong female leads in a story that explores social class and women’s roles in her country and culture. With an eerie supernatural undertone the film works as both a social drama as well as a horror and will leave audiences genuinely startled.

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Nok (Amphaiphun Phommapunya), is sent by her family to earn money for them looking after a wealthy cousin, who is losing her sight. Once there she must be at her cousin Ana’s (Vilouna Phetmany) bidding but sees all the materialism wealth can bring. Ana can see people in her blurred vision which she believes to be those of the dead. She begins to reveal numbers during traumatic encounters with these spirits, which Nok uses to win the lottery. Drawn in by greed Nok’s begins to enable these encounters but how far will she allow this to go to gain money?

Mattie Do became Lao’s first female director with her debut film Chanthaly which was the first Lao language film to feature in mainstream festivals worldwide. This is her second feature film and it was presented at this year’s London Film Festival. Do’s passion for filmmaking stemmed from her country’s lack of film info structure as well as the lack of strong female roles in the few films being produced. She utilises Horror as a means of discussing delicate issues such as class and predominantly the roles of women.

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The film can be classed as a horror easily with its supernatural undertones and eerie images of spirts waiting in Ana’s blurred vision. Yet to take out this element the film is a drama and a social one at that. In every dynamic and scene the social class and status of characters are explored. Nok works to help her cousin for money sent to her family. She is treated with hostility from Ana who sees her as below her but not wanting a member of her family used as a maid. The first scene of the film shows Nok’s boyfriend rejecting her as she will no doubly find a white boyfriend and ‘marry well’.

Ana is the other side of the coin. She is a young women from a similar background who has married a wealthy white man. She treats those around her, including Nok and her staff as below her. Yet through the films progression the audience will ask is she really in a better position? Her husband Jakob (Tambet Tuisk) may provide her with a comfortable lifestyle but she is no less a commodity than Nok is to her family.

As Ana’s sight fails her the visions she sees become more prominent and the story swirls into a horror that threatened to rip both Ana and Nok apart. The film also has one of the creepiest closing sequences that will stay with viewers once the credits have stopped rolling. Do may be a new director but the film has been shot with confidence. It has an almost repetitive and enclosed feeling symbolising the everyday life of both Ana and Nok.

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As the two leads Phommapunya and Phetmany both go on a journey in the film. The once innocent and naïve Nok begins to crave wealth and her actions mirror her greed. Ana is materialistic when we first meet her but as her encounters become more terrifying she begins to care for Nok, making her betrayal all the worse. Both play strong yet vulnerable women and each command the screen throughout in impressive performances.

Manivanh Boulom and Yannawoutthi Chanthalungsy play the households unnerving servants. Hostile to Nok from the beginning their behaviour becomes more and more erratic and potentially dangerous as the film progresses.

The film is very much a small and intimate affair but this only adds to the realness of the characters. An unnerving and on point look at the social dynamics of women in Lao. Even with its supernatural streak the film depicts class relations brilliantly and will leave you with an eerie after thought.


Dearest Sister played as part of the BFI London Film Festival. 
It has no official release date. 

A Cure for Wellness – Brand New Trailer!

Practically all the traditional tropes for psychological thrillers are present in the latest trailer for A Cure for Wellness, there’s hauntingly ominous music, disconcerting shots and periods of relative normalcy interspersed with manic, inexplicable moments that don’t make sense in the context of the trailer, but will surely be explained in the film itself.

All in all, you could say that this trailer is a rather humdrum affair.

Fortunately, director Gore Verbinski manages to maintain a palpably tense and exciting atmosphere through the use of some beautifully realised cinematography, and fast-paced cutting between set-pieces, all the while a cover of The Ramones “I Wanna Be Sedated” is chillingly sung over the top of the action.

It’s hard to say what will happen in the film itself, lending an extra layer to the mystery that surrounds the film, but one assumes that it won’t be a walk in the park for the protagonist.


A Cure for Wellness is out in cinemas February 17th!