Wreck-It Ralph – Special Preview Footage

Why are we so obsessed with sequels? There must be a reason. It can’t just be Hollywood churning these out for the sake of it because audiences are being driven into the cinemas to see shoddy franchises such as Fast and Furious. The movies are still making big-bucks so there is an equilibrrium  of nonsense going on that sees good movies turn into average trilogies at the blink of an eye.  No one has particularly asked for these films to exist but, welp, here we are.

Anyway, the reason I bring this up is because Wreck-It Ralph, the Walt Disney Animation studios outing about a video game bad-guy and his quest to be good, has a sequel coming out later this year and it’s announcement rolled my eyes into a black-hole. Regardless, I went to a special preview of Wreck-It Ralph 2: Ralph Breaks the Internet footage to see what level the film is at.

Presented by producer Clark Spencer, Wreck-It Ralph 2: Ralph Breaks the Internet (the sub-title is what we’ll call this film from now on) revolves around  our loveable misfits Penelope and Ralph as they continue to enjoy the world of arcade gaming in Litwak’s Family Fun Centre. When Penelope’s game Sugar Rush breaks, she and Ralph head off to find replacement parts to keep her plugged in. However, that means navigating the new and scary world of the internet.

Starting off the morning, Spencer introduced us to the small theatre he grew up in and how he was inspired to become a part of animation. Following this was an adorable feature which explored different roles in Disney and how the company impacted their career. This was a nice prologue to the proceedings and helped us get to the beating heart of Disney – the glorious animators. It was inspiring for anyone wishing to get into the company.

Following that, we were shown a series of clips, some in development and some completed. The first instinct of this looking like The Emoji Movie is highlighted. It is understandable as the two focus on the world of the internet, apps, and more. It’s natural for there to be an overlap. Fortunately, this is where the similarities lie as Ralph Breaks the Internet turns into a hi-jink movie about friendship and from what we are shown, there is going to be a lot of heart between our two lovable rogues.

Look, as I’ve already said, the idea of a  Ralph Breaks the Internet seemed like a redundant idea. That’s when I saw the extended Princess sequence and, while I am not going to give anything away, I’m telling you that it is hilarious, and wonderful, and detailed, and brilliant, and I can’t wait to see it repeatedly.

All the original actors return such as John C. Riley, Sarah Silverman, and even Alan Tudyck (playing a different Tarji P. Henson plays Yesss (the three ‘S’s are important,) an algorithm with the ability to shift between stylish outfits, staying ahead of the trends. Whilst there doesn’t seem to be a true antagonist, there’s definitely set up for a major rift  as Ralph and Penelope immerse themselves into the hectic world of the internet.

It may not be on your radar, but it’s worth connecting with this one.

Wreck-It Ralph 2: Ralph Breaks the Internet is out November!

The Favourite – Brand New Trailer!

Yorgos Lanthimos has delivered some spectacular movies. From The Lobster to Dogtooth. Lanthimos is the dark comedy director digging into the grit beneath our world.

Now he unites Emma Stone, Olivia Coleman, and Rachel Weisz in this spectacular period romp.  It revolves around Queen Anne and two cousins who vie for her attention.

This looks to be a brilliant black comedy film from some of the world’s best actresses. What do you think?

The Favourite is out 1st January 2019! 

A Wrinkle In Time – Review

When it comes to non-franchised material and adaptations, Disney has too-often faulted. Their live-action movies just aren’t shaping up to what they used to be. Once a powerhouse that crafted Bedknobs and Broomsticks and Mary Poppins, we are now left with The Lone Ranger and John Carter. The only successes they’ve found are with bought materials such as Marvel and Star Wars and the occasional pillage into their own back-catalogue such as The Jungle Book.

Films such as Oz the Great and Powerful and Tomorrowland falter critically and commercially. There just isn’t something gelling with audiences. So Disney have placed their faith in the great director Ava DuVernay. Could you she break this streak of failure?

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A Wrinkle in Time, based on a popular book by Madeleine L’Engle, revolves round the young Meg who is suffering four years after the disappearance of her father. Disliked at school and disruptive, she lives in hope that she’d one day return. When Meg and her brother Charles Wallace are visited by three unusual beings, Mrs Who. Mrs. Which, and Mrs. Whatsit,  who tell them that their father is locked in a different dimension and it’s up to the children, alongside school friend Calvin, to find him.

I’m going to lay some cards on the table: The screening I went to for this movie was one of the most disruptive I’ve ever encountered so I think I’ve been somewhat lenient because I couldn’t connect to the film at the beginning. I believe this was partly the movies hastened exposition and partly the consistent phone using later-comers with their talkative children.

Tangent aside A Wrinkle In Time is somewhat spectacular. It’s gloriously colourful with intensely beautiful sequences. There’s a vibrant and visual world-building that will fills your heart with joy. This is match by the earnestness of lead Meg. Storm Reid is a terrific child lead, able to implement a wonderful  emotional arc combating the absence of her Dad and her own low self-esteem. Reid is a watchable actress with the strength of a performer beyond her years. Young Deric McCabe is multi-faceted as the intellectual Charles Wallace and the bond between him and Reid as brother and sister is palpable.

The adults here are equally equipped to tackle their normal and supernatural roles, handling the and there is a good spiritual lesson about being who you are as well as an endearing centric father and daughter relationship.

It’s just shoddily put together.  Many have been calling the book inadaptable and that applies here. The plot is so peculiar and there isn’t enough within the film to explain what the hell is going on. There is too little build up on the family beforehand for us to care a whole lot about Meg’s journey to her father, and it flits through grand scenes without a moments thought to explain to the audiences what the hell is going on. It’s complex yet tries for simplicity and this dilution doesn’t create a well-put together  product. I think a lot of this comes from seeming nervous direction combined with very shoddy editing. There’s a lack of confidence behind the scenes that translates into a ill-conceived film.

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This is best explained in the scene where we meet Mrs Who. Played fantastically by Mindy Kahling (who is rocking all the looks given,) the character is a peculiar one who has transcended age so much that she can only speak in quotes. She lives in a house filled with books that Charles Wallace guides Meg and love interest Calvin through. This should be fluid, from entering the house we should track their journey until the excitable reveal. It should be exploratory as Meg and Calvin tepidly enter, scared of what they might fine. Instead, the shots are jarring; skipping quickly between Mrs. Who’s movements and the books. We see her before Meg has even entered. If we were to follow the film through Meg’s steps, Mrs. Who should be there as soon as Meg  sees her and not a minute before. This kind of set-up is seen throughout the film and it ruins the rhythm.

This is apparent within the soundtrack, which is definitely over-baring. Whilst there are good artists that feature on the  soundtrack, it is used in all the wrong places. Dramatic moments are wasted because they’ve opted for a lyrical based tune rather than the soaring score by Ramin Dajawdi.

A Wrinkle in Time is neither as good as people are recommending or as bad as people are slating. It sits with it’s really impeccable elements and it’s really godawful ones too. It’s enjoyable and entertaining  and there is enough to inspire a whole generation of children, adults, and filmmakers. However, the issues exist and, whilst it is admirable on a grand scale,  it still yearns for absolute completion as though we have a draft version instead of a final one. It’s a large shame because DuVernay is an accomplished director (and, by no means, do the faults change the work she has done and can do and she shouldn’t be condemned for the problems here) and there are moments of pure genius here. It’s just that, much like Tomorrowland, it is confusing and, at times, messy.

A middling live-action fantasy romp, A Wrinkle in Time will find it’s audience… in time.

A final thought: I do believe this is factual evidence that Oprah is an omnipresent gigantic god-like being who has come to Earth to spread messages of love and strength, telling us all to “Be Warriors” and we’ll all believe it. Can we start a religion based on this? Because I’m game. Bring in the Godzilla-sized Oprah NOW!

A Wrinkle in Time is out on DVD & Blu-Ray now! 

Red Sparrow – Review

Jennifer Lawrence is a formidable actress that has been largely associated with her Young Adult roles and questionable controversies of the screen, leading us to forget that she is actually a tour-de-force on the big screen. Though her work lately has polarised people with the space soap opera Passengers and the mind-melting Aronosfky production mother!, she will always meet each role with absolute gusto, charm, and beguiling skill. I mean, one doesn’t simply win an Academy Award at 23, do they?

The highest grossing actress in the world, Jennifer Lawrence has proven time and time again that she is a powerhouse performer. This continues in spy drama Red Sparrow.

Based on a book by Jason Matthews, the film revolves around ballerina Dominika Egorova. When a tragic (and suspicious) accident leaves her with a broken leg and a shattered future, her uncle Ivan Dimitrevich visits for consolation and a proposition: seduce a diplomat and steal  his phone. After the mission ends in death, Ivan manipulates Dominika into joining a spy organisation called the Sparrows where they are trained to sexually exploit American targets. But when Dominika is assigned to follow American CIA operative Nate Nash, she becomes embroiled a more heinous plot…

Whilst her Russian accent takes some getting used to (has she ever wavered from the American one in a movie before? The new tone is initially off-putting,) Lawrence is an astonishing lead actress here. She commands each scene she is in, brewing turbulent emotions that pushes the energy forward, bringing this incomparable intensity to the screen. It’s one that showcases exactly why she is fascinating to watch as Lawrence commands your attention. Alongside her is the ever great Joel Egerton, the refined Jeremy Irons, and superb Matthias Schoenaerts who populate her story as men ready to manipulate her.

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The story weaves within this great script that goes on far too long and there for there are scenes that drag. It also can be tricky to follow exactly what’s going on. However, this is a stripped back (pun unintended but apt,) spy drama thatis more about the brooding, unravelling in a palpable and mysterious way. Director Francis Lawrence films the scenes in an evocative way, capturing the intensity and murkiness against the rich and beautiful elements that make this a gorgeous film to watch.

Perhaps one of the most intriguing elements to Red Sparrow is the sexual components here. It is a hard topic to master within a film and there will certainly be people who’ll find elements tricky or mishandled. The film is about teaching spies to seduce their targets in order to drain information from them – both men and women students – and there is a lot of nudity and sex because of it. There’s even sexual violence which, I still believe is unnecessary here, but the film does curve away from the usual and helps develop Dominika beyond the violence. She has constant strength that is unwavering in the face of the injustices she experiences and the film somewhat turns the sexual politics into her favour.

In this current climate, it is interesting to see these intricate relations and show how both sides are exploiting one another for information. Based on supposed true events, Red Sparrow is a quiet yet powerful film with fantastic performances at the forefront.

Red Sparrow is out on DVD & Blu-Ray now