Leave No Trace – Brand New Trailer!

Debra Granik crafted one of the most impressive dramas with Winter’s Bone and now she returns with Leave No Trace.

Starring the criminally underrated Ben Foster, the film revolves around a soldier suffering from PTSD. To combat it, he and his daughter live in the forest away from society. When they are found, they have to assimilate back onto normal life.

Similarly to Captain Fantastic and The Glass Castle, the idea of nomad families have been explored.  This, if at all possible, looks more poignant. We’re

Leave No Trace showcases at Sundance Film Festival this June. 

Marvel Cinematic Universe – Our Ranking

With the ultimate Marvel Cinematic Universe movie out and doing the rounds, we’ve done what any great film publication would do – we’ve ranked all the bloody films. With 19 of the bloody things after a decade of antics, where does your favourite land?

19) Thor: The Dark World (2013)

Image result for 19) Thor: The Dark World (2013)

Perhaps unanimously voted as one of the worst films in the Marvel Universe, the follow-up to the first Thor outing was a dud. Despite director Alan Taylor’s best efforts, The Dark World wasted Christopher Eccelston, played havoc with the London Underground System, and did something seemingly impossible; it made a film with Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddleston utterly boring.

18) The Incredible Hulk (2008)

Image result for 18) The Incredible Hulk (2008)

Admit it, you kinda forgot that this was included in the MCU. It’s a shame that it is such a bygone product because Edward Norton being a part of the franchise would’ve been swell (but, fine, Mark Ruffalo is perfectly cast, whatever.) The film is OK but it against the rest of the universe, it falls flat.

17) Iron Man 2 (2010)

Image result for 17) Iron Man 2 (2010)

Sam Rockwell is in this movie  and yet it still is a confusing, mess of a film that feels misguided in it’s attempts to continue Tony Stark’s story. With more villains than necessary and some meaningless direction, IM2 just didn’t stick like the first film. In fact, we’re going to leave it there because it is such an uninteresting entry to the franchise and to Iron Man lore.

16) Ant-Man (2015)

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I’ll be honest and personal here (the bane of film criticism and listings but what are you going to do?) but I would probably put this further down the list if it weren’t for the beautiful and entertaining relationship between Michael Pena and Paul Rudd. I mean, more Paul Rudd isn’t a bad thing ever and Michael Pena is a genius addition to MCU as the lovable Luis. Hopefully the next  Ant-Man outing will be improve on the character who’s biggest impression was a small part in Civil War. 

15) Thor (2011)

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Thor was a visual masterpiece but lacked an enjoyable story-line.  The film served as more set-up than an actual movie and that is obvious throughout.  It was a basic and sometimes drab adventure into a world that had Gods, robots, and Chris Hemsworth’s abs.

14) Avengers: Age of Ultron (2017)

Image result for 14) Avengers: Age of Ultron (2017)

Arguably, Age of Ultron is the most debated film in the franchise. There are people who love it, people who loathe it, and others who can take it or leave it. Despite James Spader’s charmingly murderous killer robot, Ultron was convoluted and a mesh of characters who didn’t seem to gel as easily as they did in Assemble. With forced romantic relationships and disagreeable character changes, Ultron fell short of being the sequel we wanted.

13)  Iron Man 3 (2013)

Image result for 13)  Iron Man 3 (2013)

I love Shane Black so perhaps i’m giving him a higher rating than necessary but Tony Stark’s inner-adventure was actually more interesting than most give credit for. OK, so, the villains weren’t very good and there was a tone of familiarity in the scorned nerdy guy, but Tony dealing with his past as well as his over-reliance of the suit makes for a somewhat impressive feature.  

12) Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)

Image result for 12) Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017)

When the soundtrack of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 fades away, you’ll find many issues with the sequel to James Gunn’s space romp. Though the presence of Kurt Russell as the main antagonist is as absolutely glorious as his beard is, the story-line and script arel lacking. Whilst it does possess a really emotional sequence that’ll have you blubbing and adds a poignant depth to Star-Lord, it just didn’t feel as charged as the first film did. It also is rated down because of its flippant use of Fleetwood Mac’s The Chain. But I’ll talk more about that on another date. 

11) Doctor Strange (2016)

Image result for 11) Doctor Strange (2016)

Benedict Cumberbatch is a massive draw to movies and television series so hiring him to bring a bit of magician pizzazz to the Marvel Cinematic Universe was a success. Bringing wizards and magic into the world was risky but thanks to the charisma of Cumberbatch and his fellows Chiwetel Ejiofor and Benedict Wong, there was an entertaining spark that kept us all invested. The biggest problem with Doctor Strange is down to its formulaic story-line as a rigid origin story yet the trippy and mental aesthetic and set pieces brought a lot of freshness to the tale.

10) Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

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There’s a certain fondness for Cap’s first ever outing that, even though it is somewhat eclipsed by the phenomenal sequels, still has a charm. Maybe because it’s the era, maybe its because of Chris Evans gun-ho portrayal as Steve Rogers, or maybe it’s because of Hayley Atwell’s Peggy Carter (it is definitely because of Atwell’s Carter.) There’s a certainly blandness to this film but I absolutely adore this period setting and the rambunctious nature of Evans. Also, this is the birthplace of the infamous Bucky and Rogers love and I can’t get enough of their…friendship…

9) Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

Image result for 9) Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

Not that Marvel has any issue with finding the perfect person to play their heroes (it’s like they’ve planted them over time and have raised them to be the actual character,) but having Tom Holland as Peter Parker/Spider-Man was completely genius. Showcasing a more youthful tone to the creepy crawly hero (a much needed energy for the Spider-Man movies,) Homecoming surpassed expectations by becoming a teen flick, just with a powered young adult at the centre of it. With a lovable lead and one of the most surprising twists to come out of a Marvel film, Homecoming hit all the right notes.

8) Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

Image result for 8) Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

With the first two films in the Thor trilogy lacking in quality, it was up to Marvel to shake it up. They did so by hiring Taika Waititi, legendary comedy director, to take the reigns. Perhaps learning from the Edgar Wright mishap, Marvel let Waititi interject some frivolity into Asguard. The film allowed Chris Hemsworth to play with humour and explore his fantastic comedic timing in a colourful film. Away from the antics in Civil War, Thor’s own personal journey was not without its dark side and epicness, leaving

7) Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

Image result for 7) Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

Whilst superpowers and caped heroes monopolised the action on Earth, the next venture was to shoot an entire movie in outer-space. James Gunn took us to the vibrant stratosphere with this bunch of complete assholes. Lead by the rough, ready, and rambunctious Peter Quill (played impeccably by Chris Pratt,) this fun-filled adventure with  our scruffy and rag-tag heroes was an entertaining thrill ride and not without its emotion. It also features one of the best soundtracks for a Marvel film (perhaps seconded only by Black Panther.)

6) Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

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The latest Marvel outing is certainly it’s biggest. Because it has EVERYONE. All of the heroes jam-packed into one absolutely mind-blowing spectacle. Josh Brolin’s Thanos is a mighty antagonist and one we’ve been waiting for since his grinning stare during a post-credit sequence. Here, his quest is the ultimate test for our heroes and it’s a breath-taking film to see them fight against, well, the Apocalypse. No for reals this time. This is the darkest entry for Marvel, despite the funny lines, and The Russo Brothers weave an explosive web with threads of emotion that keep you interested.

5) Black Panther (2018)

Image result for 5) Black Panther (2018)

Black Panther is still in cinemas and it was released at the beginning of February. That’s how impacting this film has been on not just the MCU, but the whole world. Grabbing acclaimed director Ryan Coogler for the epitomes film was he right move and Coogler injected his skill for humanity into the superhero romp. With Chadwick Boseman in the titular role and Michael B. Jordan as the absolutely ingenious villain Erik Killmonger, the movie worked due to it’s impressive cast and deep backstory, rooted in the bigger world. Entertaining and with the best soundtrack of all the Marvel films, this solo outing is one of the best.

4) Iron Man (2008)

Image result for 4) Iron Man (2008)

The first ever cinematic outing for an Avenger and an absolutely stellar comeback for Robert Downey Jr. after being away from the public eye for so long. Iron Man was a special beginning for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Not only were we introduced to this playboy Tony Stark, battling with the problems of his late father and a company’s moral compass. The film starts shockingly and is not without its emotional core. RDJ is spectacular as the charismatic Stark who is as equally sarcastic as he is intelligent. Action-packed and with Jeff Motherfucking Bridges, you can hardly go wrong with this start.

3) Avengers Assemble (2012)

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Nearly six years ago, Joss Whedon surprised us all with this hilarious and high-action film that brought the first of the MCU heroes together. Thor, The Hulk, Black Widow, Captain America, Iron Man, and Hawkeye all had to blend into one fighting force to face-off against Loki and a whole army of aliens that descend on New York. This was the first instance of any of them coming together so there had to be the right amount of friendship and friction (fricship? friendtion) in order for it to work. And boy, it still does. Helped by Tom Hiddleston’s smarmy villain and also the impeccable casting of Mark Ruffalo as a broken Bruce Banner, Avengers Assemble helped meld all the pieces together.

2) Captain America: Civil War (2016)

Image result for 2) Captain America: Civil War (2016)

Probably the biggest test of the Russo Brothers’ capabilities was Civil War. We were all on the edge to see exactly how so many different heroes can slide into  the action with ease, especially after Joss Whedon’s success with Avengers Assemble. This had to not only bring everyone in, but had to also have than spar off one another for pretty believable reasons. And it worked. There are really strong action sequences, brilliant character development, new introductions, and a lot of well-placed humour that is completely exhilarating. Special kudos goes to Robert Downey Jr.’s performance as Tony Stark who has to deal with some heart-breaking moments here.

1) Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

Image result for 1) Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

Winter Soldier had to do something really triumphant. It was a transition: a conduit for darker times, not just for the cinema but for Steve Rodgers as a character. Up until this point four years ago, Rodgers was a staple of good honest America, a bygone product of a peppier era that needed a hero like Captain America. The Russo Brothers’ had to start breaking that down and shake him up, showing the qualities and beliefs that made The First Avenger so special. Confronting him with his past, and an institute he trusts falling apart, Winter Soldier felt more like a noir-spy thriller, just with superheros. Every pulsating second beat with importance. No character is wasted here and Sebastian Stan’s titular villain was brilliant to watch.

Avengers: Infinity War is out in cinemas now! 
Read our review! 

Avengers: Infinity War – Review

Imagine you are going for a meal. A fancy meal – one that you have anticipated for a while. See, over the course of the year, you’ve been sampling little bites of it. Tasters that linger with different levels of flavours covering your palette. Teasers of what to come in annual bits that have transcended over a decade.

Imagine you are sitting down, ready for that meal that is going to satisfy your every needs. The sweet, the sour, the bitter, the savoury. It’s enough to make you drool with its tantalising promise. Imagine sitting down for that juicy succulent meal that is smothered with your high expectations. Imagine it.

Now imagine being the chef.

I start this way because the enormous task cinematic genius the Russo Brothers had to face was to craft a hearty, adventurous, intriguing, and impeccable meal that had to be brilliantly marinated with all sorts of seasoning and spices.

With all these elements going on, have the Russo Brothers cooked up a satisfying film?

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Avengers: Infinity War is the film the rest of them have been leading up to. All the stories and all the characters from MCU are featured in this grand comic book film spectacle. They all face off against their biggest foe – Thanos. This evil villain is on a mission to collect all of the Infinity Stones that have been scattered across the Universe. If he succeeds, he could harness the power to wipe out half of existence. It is up to The Avengers, The Guardians of the Galaxy, Dr. Strange, and many, many more to help stop him.

You have to marvel (pun fully intended) at the ingenuity of the Russo Brothers here. Taking the reigns of the franchise after the success of Winter Soldier and Civil War, the pair had the mightiest of all tasks in weaving this story to appease audiences everywhere. Yet they wield their cinematic skill with great responsibility to craft an enormous and mind-blowing cinematic phenomena. This is ginormous in every sense of the world and not one second is wasted. Here the characters all have to meet, form an alliance, trust one another, and we all have to be invested in this. And it works. It truly and impressively works.

The design here is magnificent and the action sequences breath-taking. Yet there’s still rivers of emotion that ebb with the explosions and there are actually stakes here, mounting with ferocious energy alongside your heartbeat. It’s kinetic, energetic, and empathetic with every single character (including Thanos.) It is charged with electricity that’ll flow through you, pounding away in your head like pulsating excitement.

The biggest issue here is that it’s a lot to take in, especially in the first half. Mounds of exposition and character interaction amount to threads of story-line that spindle off in different directions until they are pulled back for the finale. Complex and impressive that is to watch, it certainly leaves you stuffed and overwhelmed by the plates of plot you have to stomach. This, sadly, means there are some of your favourites you’ll invest in less. That’s no problem in the overall scheme of things, seeing as there is a fourth film on it’s way very soon, but for those hankering over their favourites, it’ll be disappointing when you don’t get the right helping.

A small note but there is also a giant CGI mishap that affects bits of the film.

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Quibbles aside, Infinity War is amazing entertainment with the right pinches of every ingredient to make sure every audience member flummoxed by the action, the emotion, and the scale of this super-hero movie. The Russo Brothers have to be applauded for tackling this vicious beast and giving you a ridiculously good time.

As you leave the cinema, cheeks puffed out and your belly bloated from gratification, I can promise you that you’ll be licking your lips for seconds.

Avengers: Infinity War is out 26th April! 

Wildling– Review

In her follow up to The Diary of a Teenage Girl, Bel Powley loses her teeth, reneges on vegetarianism and has a nail problem. Not Emily Blunt’s nail problem (see A Quiet Place) but one entirely resistant to varnish.

Wildling is that low budget film you’ve never heard of that suddenly ended up in multiplexes on the third week of April, to follow last year’s Unforgettable. Co-written and directed by Fritz Böhm, it is one-third Room to two thirds Ginger Snaps with Powley as Anna, a teenager, imprisoned by her elderly father (Brad Dourif) desperate to arrest her development, who is rescued after she asks to go to ‘a better place’ – the hereafter, not the inevitable sequel to John Krasinski’s smash hit thriller.

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With skewed movie logic, Anna enters into temporary custody of local sheriff Ellen Cooper (Liv Tyler) who lives with her kid brother, Ray (Collin Kelly-Sordelet). ‘I found you,’ Ellen explains in what is the strangest case of ‘finder’s keeper’s’ I’ve ever heard. There is the obligatory catching a teenage boy in the shower scene, then Anna goes to school, to watch women undertake track and field through chain link fencing.

Ray has problems with two drug-taking bullies and Anna comes to his defence. She gets invited to a party and Ray comes with. ‘I was going to cook,’ pleads Ellen who is all too insistent that Ray is her kid brother. (It is okay, Liv, you can play moms in movies and still look like the star of Bernardo Bertolucci’s Stealing Beauty.)

We then have the inciting incident in which a boy ends up fatally wounded. Anna discovers who she is and why papa kept telling her to fear the Wildling.

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There is one good plot twist, but the story arc is heavily sign-posted. James Le Gros turns up as a guy dressed as a wolf who warns Anna about the animal traps. They bond over some meat, which makes a change from social media.

Writ large is a metaphor for the transformative aspect of female sexuality, but we’ve seen it before. The drama is shorn of modernist trappings on account of the difficulty getting a mobile signal in the remote forest location.

On the scale of pubescent horror flicks, Wildling is no Carrie. I half expected it to be a remake of a Scandi horror flick, as it has a When Animals Dream vibe (a similarly themed Danish film that screened at Cannes in 2014).

Powley is immensely watchable in a role that requires her to get down and dirty – literally. Wildling offers efficiently delivered if bland horror thrills with a welcome, if unchallenging, return to cinemas screens for Liv Tyler.

Wildling is out in cinemas now! 

Super Troopers 2 – Brand New Trailer!

Cult films have a lot of power. They really push audiences into enthusiastic and intense reactions. Super Troopers, a movie revolving around a hapless law enforcement team, has acquired legions of fans. Now they’re back for a second helping.

The second film revolves around an international border dispute between the US and Canada with everyone’s favourite Highway Patrol team coming in to resolve it.

We’re down for this. It is ridiculous, yes. But we’re down for this. What do you think?

Super Troopers 2 is out 15th June!