Welcome back to THN’s 2013 Preview. With awards season long gone, we enter the realms of silliness and big budget boobery. From CG zombies to 3D posties, prepare for some escapist nonsense of the most wonderful kind.
Friday 3rd May
As Tom Lehrer once said, ‘Spring is here, suffering is here.’ Never has that been more evident than with the release of Neil Jordan’s BYZANTIUM, the tragic tale of a mother and daughter who live a life of violence and terror in a run-down seaside town. Mainly because they’re vampires. Yes, this is Jordan’s return to Der Vampir after his 1994 smash INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE. However, unlike that bodice-ripping romp, BYZANTIUM is a much more sombre affair and early reviews haven’t been kind. But with a stellar cast including Gemma Arterton, Saoirse Ronan, Johnny Lee Miller and Sam Riley, plus the ever reliable Jordan running the show, you never know.
For something lighter, look no further than Pedro Almodovar and his high-camp, high-flying comedy I’M SO EXCITED! Or LOS AMANTES PASAJEROS which translates to ‘The Fleeting Lovers’ and ‘The Passenger Lovers.’ Not much is known about this picture other than its set entirely on a plane and it’s a nice bit of fluff. Here’s the trailer – but brace yourself; this clip is so camp you may turn into a tent.
Doesn’t it remind you of that old Alan Cumming sitcom THE HIGH LIFE? (click here to see what I mean). Speaking of super gay imagery…
From the enjoyably silly to the downright stupid, with Michael Bay’s pet project, PAIN & GAIN. Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne Johnson team up as bungling body-builders-cum-outlaws who do some kidnapping, murdering and flexing. It’s meant to be funny and the two leading men are very hot property and generally, bloody good. But considering Bay’s last decent film was ten years ago (BAD BOYS II if you’re wondering), can he handle a movie whose budget doesn’t exceed the gross national product of Peru? He honestly considers this to be his ‘small’ film, like its TYRANNOSAUR or something. When he hires Olivia Coleman, I’ll be impressed.
Friday 17th May
Now here is a real battle, as two heavy-hitters go head-to-head today. One of the most popular sci-fi franchises in history versus one of the most revered literary works of all time.
STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS has been greatly anticipated since JJ Abrams’ superb 2009 reboot. A lot of us were surprised by just how accessible it was; Trade route sanctions and diplomatic quandaries were replaced by big-ass action scenes, laughs-a-plenty and a cast sexier than a pile of sex rolled up in a big blanket of sex. And the second outing has Benedict bloody Cumberbatch in it! I know! With a recent trailer getting regular film fans as excited as the fanboys/girls out there, we expect this sequel to live long and prosper. That Benedict makes ME long and prosper. Phwoar! He could Cumberbatch ALL OVER me. Phwoar! I want to have sexual intercourse with Benedict Cumberbatch. Phwoar!
THE GREAT GATSBY looks to be Baz Luhrmann’s return to form after the abysmal AUSTRALIA. It’s had two astonishing trailers which demonstrate his trademark visual flair and knack for juxtaposing modern music with vintage settings. Aesthetically, there doesn’t seem to be anything out there quite like Lurhmann’s vision for the great American novel, and even in a year with the new Superman AND Alan Partridge movies coming out, this is the one I am personally most excited about, and may well cement Leonardo Di Caprio and Carey Mulligan as modern screen icons. And Tobey Maguire is in it too. He’s lovely.
Friday 24th May
The final week of May sees the release of two big family features and two blockbuster sequels. So something for everyone, assuming everyone is under 14.
EPIC tells the tale of a young girl (Amanda Seyfried) who is magically shrunken and joins miniature warriors and talking slugs in a battle to save their mystical forest. It looks bold and adventurous with some exquisite animation. Seyfried leads an all star cast including Colin Farrell, Beyonce Knowles and Christoph Waltz in a cartoon that is putting laughs on the back burner, favouring some ambitious visuals in what basically looks like Pixar-does-FERN GULLY. Though some might say that describes AVATAR. Should be good.
POSTMAN PAT: THE MOVIE – YOU KNOW YOU’RE THE ONE 3D sees Britain’s favourite postman enter an ‘X Factor’-style talent contest. I don’t think any of us saw this one coming. Stephen Mangan (or Harry Styles- The Cuppacinno Years) will he voicing the titular postie while other vocal duties fall to Harry Potter alumni Rupert Grint, Jim Broadbent and David Tennant. We’re hoping for a first class delivery, and not a poo through the letterbox.
If THE HANGOVER PART III is anything like its predecessors, then women will be represented horribly and given no jokes, eastern Asian people will be laughed AT, not WITH and convicted rapist Mike Tyson will be revered as a demi-God. But at least someone might say the word ‘retard’ in a funny way! AHAHAHAHAHAHAshit.
And because 13 year old boys aren’t catered to enough in multiplexes, there’s also FAST & FURIOUS 6. Or FASTEST & FURIOUSEST. Or FASTER & FURIOUSERSER. Cars will go whoosh! Cameras will look up skirts! And Paul Walker will be praying that he gets cast in F&F7 or he’ll have to go back on the game.
AFTER EARTH is the latest offering from M Night Shayamalan. He’s not been at his best lately, with THE HAPPENING and THE LAST AIRBENDER getting laughed out of cinemas. But this feature features real life father and son Will and Jaden Smith in their third on-screen collaboration (as well as THE PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS, young Jaden popped up briefly in MEN IN BLACK II). They play a father and son who crash land on a derelict Earth, a millennium after humanity has buggered off. With Smith Sr injured in the wreck, Smith Jr must venture forth for help, food and what-not whilst battling mutated animals and aliens with his invalid father’s help. It seems like a cross between I AM LEGEND and THE BONE COLLECTOR, but good. The Smith family are a proven commodity at the box office, and with Shayamalan staying away from writing duties and sticking only to the director’s chair (yuck), we won’t have to worry about waiting for the inevitable twist. In a year that sees Tom Cruise’s similar looking OBLIVION, CAPTAIN AMERICA II and Del Toro’s robots-vs-aliens extravaganza PACIFIC RIM, maybe AFTER EARTH could be the surprise, sleeper sci-fi hit of the year.
This is the big one. Produced by Christopher Nolan, directed by Zack Snyder, and possibly the most anticipated film of the year, MAN OF STEEL sees Superman’s return to the silver screen. Henry Cavill dons the red cape (minus the red knickers) to do battle with Michael Shannon’s General Zod. Much like Jesus and Elton John’s kid, Superman has two dads. Perpetually furious human-beard and champion phone-thrower Russell Crowe plays his biological father Jor-El, whilst The Mariner himself, Kevin Costner, plays his adoptive father on Earth. We were all a bit iffy when we heard Snyder was doing Superman. Some of us thought he would dress Lois Lane up as a sexy samurai schoolgirl or something. When we saw Clark Kent had a beard, we feared he would be heard screaming ‘THIS! IS! KYYP-TON!!’ But in Nolan we trust, and the teaser/trailers were met with universal acclaim. Humble, character-centric promotional material was not what we expected from Mr 300, and our expectations are now higher than Lex Luthor’s hairline. Will it tie-in with The Justice League? Will it end with Supes swooping to Gotham and snatching Batman out of The Bat(wing) thus explaining that ending? Will he swing buildings like baseball bats as the rumours suggest? We can’t wait to find out.
Following on from THE INCREDIBLE BURT WONDERSTONE, the year’s second Hollywood movie about magicians is NOW YOU SEE ME, a fun-looking heist flick where the perpetrators use the power of illusion to nab the cash. Or are they ACTUALLY WIZARDS?! Jesse Eisenberg leads the troupe of magic makers consisting of Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher and Dave (brother of James) Franco. On their trail is Mark Ruffalo’s cop while Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman resume their bromance from THE DARK KNIGHT trilogy as two more shadowy figures. Overall, this looks like THE PRESTIGE meets OCEAN’S ELEVEN. A lazy comparison, maybe, but that does sound fun, doesn’t it?
Ryan Reynolds is not exactly on fire with his comic/movie adaptations. BLADE TRINITY was lukewarm at best whilst X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE and THE GREEN LANTERN were colder than an Eskimo’s pre-cum. However, his latest page-to-screen looks quite promising, as R.I.P.D. is taken from the Dark Horse comic series, them what did MEN IN BLACK and HELLBOY. He plays Nick Walker, a recently killed cop who joins the undead division of the police, the REST IN PEACE DEPARTMENT in fact, and seeks out his killer. So, sort of like ROBOCOP with zombies. Zombocop? Speaking of zombies…
WORLD WAR Z has Brad Pitt flying round the world fighting loads of the rotting CG rotters. The trailer was impressive, but the best thing about this film is that while filming in west London, he and Jolie went shopping in Halfords by an estate in Isleworth. True story. Film looks alright.
Friday 28th June
DESPICABLE ME 2 follows on from the surprise success of the original, starring Steve Carrell. It walloped the similarly themed MEGAMIND when it hit cinemas in 2010 and now it has the added bonuses of Steve Coogan and Al Pacino! No plot details as yet, but almost the entire cast reprise their roles and we’re all pleased to see the return of The Minions, who in fact get their own movie in 2014.
THIS IS THE END of the article. It’s also the name of the Seth Rogan written/starring comedy starring all his bezzy mates like James Franco, Danny McBride, Craig Robinson and Jonah Hill among others. What’s more, they play themselves alongside cameos from Michael Cera, Emma Watson and Rihanna who all face the end of the world. Expect tons of self-parody, glib gags about their respective films and a whole bunch of swearing. It’s been through a few name changes, from SETH & JAY VS THE APOCALYPSE to the awful THE END OF THE WORLD. This is probably to avoid comparisons with the equally apocalyptic comedy, THE WORLD’S END, starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. But now they have a title, poster and a teaser which is worth watching, if only for an axe-wielding Hermione Granger.
But for now, this is indeed the end. Check out the previous four months here, and come back tomorrow for July and August and for more Blockbusters than Bob Holness’ balls.