Dealing with racism through the metaphor of supernatural beings in a world very similar to our own, Bright is superficially similar to the vastly superior Alien Nation. Will Smith plays the mildly racist cop Daryl Ward, with Joel Edgerton as his stoic Orc partner Nick Jakoby. In a world full of fantastical creatures but little magic, the discovery of a magic wand sets off a chaotic night with Ward and Jakoby protecting the wand from the various groups intent on wielding its’ power. There’s also some stuff about a prophecy, but if you’ve ever seen that trope in action Bright won’t surprise you.
Neill before Blomkamp! That’s How the Naming Convention Works
This weekend sees the release of Neill Blomkamp’s Elysium in the US and UK, in which 23rd century Matt Damon declares war on a space station to force them to cure his cancer. I’m starting to suspect the twist may be that he’s a mental patient and it’s all in his head.
Although it’s only Neill Blomkamp’s second feature film (after the excellent District 9) he made a number of short films, all of which are available on Youtube, all of which I watched, and reviewed to give an idea of his career so far.
Click here to read Marathon Man: Neill Blomkamp
Chill-ermo del Terror!!
He directs horror films, is what I was going for with the title – I was doing a Simpsons Halloween special credits thing, you know, trying to be amusing. And yes, I suppose you could probably describe his work more accurately as dark fantasy, but…
Yeah, anyway, my point.
This weekend sees the release of Pacific Rim, Guillermo del Toro’s new film, in both the US and UK. (And possibly some other countries as well.)
Ahead of this, writing for the Ann Arbor Review, I’ve re-watched some of his biggest films – Mimic, Hellboy and the majestic Pan’s Labyrinth, which I was surprised to learn is only 7 years old, such is it’s status as a modern era classic.
I’ve reviewed the trio, looking at their strengths and weaknesses against each other, to help you decide whether you should spend your hard-earned money on his new release.
Click here to read Marathon Man: Guillermo del Toro
Despite being a highly acclaimed director, with two Oscar wins and two more nominations, Pedro Almodovar doesn’t seem to have that much mainstream appeal in the English speaking world.
This is indicated to an extent by how slowly his films move around the world. In the era of simulatenous worldwide releases for blockbusters, his latest film, I’m So Excited! was released in Spain back in March and in the UK in May, but is only just being released in the USA this week.
Writing for the Ann Arbor Review, I’ve looked back at some of Almodovar’s older films – Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown; Time Me Up! Tie Me Down!; Bad Education and The Skin I Live In.
If nothing else, you’ve got to admit he’s got a flair for naming his films.
Click here to read Marathon Man: Pedro Almodovar
Studying for Monsters University
Pixar is one of the great creative companies of 21st century cinema, impressively prolific and entertaining to a wide audience. This wekeend sees the release of Monsters University, the not particularly anticipated (as far as I can tell) follow up to Monsters Inc.
But I’ve taken a look at some of the less celebrated Pixar films – Monsters Inc., Cars, Ratatouille and Brave, and I’ve been impressed… at least by the films that didn’t feature characters with combustion engines.
Click here to read Marathon Man: The Lesser Pixar Films
Is it a Bird? Is it a Plane?
This weekend sees the opening, on both sides of the Atlantic, of the new Superman film, Man of Steel. Writing for the Ann Arbor Review, I’ve looked back on the previous five live action films.
That’s the four films in the seventies and eighties starring Christopher Reeve, and the noughties sequel with Brandon Routh in the title role.
Click here to read Marathon Man: Superman
What’s the Twist?
Over at the Ann Arbor Review, during the week I wrote a multi-review of M. Night Shyamalan’s films, ahead of the release of After Earth, his latest release.
I’ve taken a look back at The Sixth Sense; Unbreakable; Signs; The Village and The Happening. Oh god, the happening…
Shyamalan’s name is pretty much a joke nowadays, used as an insult more than anything else. But I was surprised by how atmospheric the films were, and how convincing the central relationships were. I even – and I may be harming my credibility here – enjoyed The Village. Seriously.
Click here to read Marathon Man: M. Night Shyamalan
A Series of Hangovers
This weekend sees the release of the third in the Hangover franchise, with Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Zach Galifanakianakis set to spend a couple of days searching for a lost friend, and piece together their lost memories for the third time in 4 summers.
Writing for the Ann Arbor Review of Books, I’ve watched and reviewed the first two Hangover films.
Click here to read Marathon Man: The Hangover
Star Trekkin’ Across the Universe
The new Star Trek film, JJ Abrams’ second and the twelfth overall, is now in cinemas both in America as well as the UK (and presumably in one or two other countries).
Writing for the Ann Arbor Review, I’ve looked back across all 7 previous films starring the original characters, and reviewed them collectively, giving my thoughts on how the films measure up against each other, and purely as entertainment in their own rights.
While I don’t want to spoil what I have to say, Star Trek V is a total mess.
I hadn’t realised quite how much they vary in subject matter and style, but I enjoyed going back and rewatching some films I’ve not seen for quite some time.
Click here to read Marathon Man: Star Trek (Films I – IV)
Click here to read Marathon Man: Star Trek (V, VI, XI)
They Don’t Exactly Avenge Anyone, Do They?
In recent years, Marvel’s cinematic arm has gone through an ambitious process – a series of seperate superhero films, coming together in a united film last summer.
They intend to build on this – all that’s gone so far is classed as ‘Phase One’; ‘Phase Two’ is now underway, starting with Iron Man 3.
Writing for Ann Arbor Review, I’ve looked back at the films in Phase One.
Click here to read Marathon Man: The Avengers, Phase One