The First ‘Men In Black: International’ Trailer Has Landed!

The Men in Black have always protected the Earth from the scum of the universe. In this new adventure, they tackle their biggest, most global threat to date: a mole in the Men in Black organization.

Directed by: F. Gary Gray

Cast: Tessa Thompson, Chris Hemsworth, Rebecca Ferguson, Emma Thompson, Liam Neeson, Rafe Spall, Kumail Nanjiani

Release Date: 14th June 2019

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The Highly Anticipated First Trailer For ‘Avengers: ENDGAME’ Has Arrived!

Directed by: Joe & Anthony Russo
Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johannson, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Chadwick Boseman, Letitia Wright, Danai Gurira, Sebastian Stan, Winston Duke, Josh Brolin, Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Tom Holland, Paul Rudd, Benedict Cumberbatch, Vi Diesel, Pom Klementieff, Jeremy Renner, Jon Favreau, Benedict Wong, Sean Gunn, Anthony Mackie, Don Cheadle, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper

JUMPSCARECUT: The Cabin in the Woods (2012)

Directed by: Drew Goddard
Cast: Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchison, Fran Kranz, Richard Jenkins, Bradley Whitford

Written by Fiona Underhill

Directed by Drew Goddard (who has a film out right now which I highly recommend: Bad Times at the El Royale) and co-written by Goddard and Joss Whedon, The Cabin the Woods is a comedy-horror in a similar vein to the Scream films, in that it is a satire of conventional horror tropes and comments on them in a post-modern, self-referential way. It contains many Whedon hallmarks – including his signature style of humour which comes across in the writing, but also some of his regular actors, including Amy Acker and Fran Kranz (both of whom feature in Whedon’s lovely version of Much Ado About Nothing).

Cabin in the Woods was actually filmed three years before it was released, in 2009, which goes some way to explaining why the actors are all ten years older than their characters. It also helped that it was filmed before Chris Hemsworth made Thor, but was released in 2012, just as he was getting super famous, thanks to Thor (2011) and The Avengers (2012). Having seen Hemsworth as Thor does it make it slightly harder to buy him as a college student, however. Same with Jesse Williams, who is best known for playing a doctor on Grey’s Anatomy.

The five main characters are all college student friends and are archetypes, but audience assumptions are subverted throughout the film. Hemsworth is Curt ‘The Jock’, Williams is Holden ‘The Scholar’, Kranz is Marty ‘The Fool’, Anna Hutchison is Jules ‘The Whore’ and Kristen Connolly is Dana ‘The Virgin.’  Even as the characters are introduced, these stereotypes are played around with, picked apart and commented on. Dana, the Final Girl is introduced in her underwear, Curt is clearly a very well-read Jock, Holden has abs, Jules may be a ‘dumb blonde,’ but she’s only just dyed her hair (and this will have consequences) and Marty is clearly the wisest one amongst them. Marty is very much playing the Randy character (from the Scream series) here – he is one step ahead of the game, he can see it being played and he makes many references to ‘the puppeteers.’

Before we are introduced to this group of young people who are going to the titular cabin in the woods for the weekend, we meet Hadley (Bradley Whitford) and Sitterson (Richard Jenkins), in their corporate scenario, bitching about their boring home lives. The mundanity of their lives and jobs is constantly juxtaposed with the task they are actually doing, which is orchestrating the brutal murders of the group of young people. This is the main source of the humour in the film, particularly with Whitford’s deadpan delivery. Their rivalry with Japan is another source of amusement and seeing the ‘evil’ in Japan defeated by a bunch of 9-year-old school girls working together is one of the film’s highlights.

There is much foreshadowing that happens at the start of the film and not just from the creepy gas station harbinger. One of Marty’s first lines is (referring to himself in the third person); “they fear this man. They know he sees farther than they and he will bind them with ancient logics.”

There are two pivotal scenes in the film – the first is when the group go into the cellar of the cabin and find it stuffed full of old artefacts. Each one (apart from Marty – who warns them all against being in there) picks up an object and starts examining it. Each of these objects could summon an unspeakable horror, but Dana starts reading the Buckner diary, which summons the Zombie Redneck Torture Family. This cuts to one of the most famous scenes in the film – Hadley and Sitterson with a whiteboard, taking bets from the office on which hideous creature would be chosen; “I’m never gonna get to see a merman.”

The second pivotal scene is when Dana discovers Marty (who she believed to be dead). Marty has been hiding in what appears to be a grave, but on further inspection, is actually an elevator. This leads to one of the most ambitious and audacious scenes in any film that I’ve seen (horror or otherwise) – the elevator is made of glass and through it, other glass elevators can be viewed. Each one contains an unspeakable horror, some of which emerge slowly from the inky black darkness and others appear suddenly, without warning. It gives me thrills and chills just thinking about it now. This sequence culminates with my favourite line from the film; “good work, zombie arm!”

Once in the underground complex, Dana and Marty make two nihilistic decisions – the first being to release the contents of the elevators into this confined space, creating chaos and flushing out the ‘bad guys.’ The second is right at the very end, when they make the ultimate decision to let the ancient ones rise again; “it’s time to give someone else a chance.”

The Cabin the Woods is one of the funniest comedies of the last decade, plus has some genuinely scary moments. It manages to pull off a high concept and successfully juxtaposes two contrasting worlds until they collide in an explosion of blood and zombie vomit at the end. The inventiveness of the creatures and the way they’re revealed to the audience is one of the most original sequences in movies. It features a fantastic cast, a witty and clever script and is very well structured. The Cabin in the Woods is one of THE best horror movies and should definitely be included in your October viewing line-up.

REVIEW: Bad Times at the El Royale (2018)

Directed by: Drew Goddard
Starring: Jeff Bridges, Cynthia Erivo, Jon Hamm, Dakota Johnson, Lewis Pullman, Chris Hemsworth

Written by Rhys Bowen-Jones

Drew Goddard is fast-becoming a household name. Having been on the scene for the last 10 or so years, he now has two directorial efforts under his belt, 2012’s cult hit horror-comedy The Cabin in the Woods and now this, a neo-noir mystery thriller with an excellent cast to support it. As with Cabin, El Royale manages to put an enjoyable spin on a classic genre with an impressively surprising and twisty tale of violence and intrigue.

The El Royale Hotel exists on the state line between California and Nevada. A former hot spot for celebrities, it has seen better days and it finds itself as a late night refuge for a band of lovable misfits from across the land. As the hotel guests arrive, the hotel’s secrets reveal itself alongside the hidden pasts of its new inhabitants.

A film such as this – a dialogue-heavy mystery that relies as much on intrigue as it does on action – needs an onboard cast, and Goddard struck gold with those at his disposal. You have a powerhouse like Jeff Bridges, alongside a relative newcomer like Cynthia Erivo, backed up by a terrific actor who is due a leap into the Hollywood big leagues by now in Jon Hamm. That’s not even mentioning Chris Hemsworth in an against-type villain role and Dakota Johnson, one of Hollywood’s hottest rising stars. Everyone engages fully with their character, and it compliments the film beautifully.

In fact, its characters are the film’s strongest suit in my book. Every conversation is fascinating because it’s delivered with panache and passion, Jeff Bridges’ mysterious priest Daniel Flynn is an easy example of this. He takes a shine to Erivo’s equally mysterious (there’s a lot of mystery going on here, as is becoming clear) Darlene Sweet, a struggling singer from Indiana. The two have a conversation over pie about where they’ve come from and where they go is extremely engaging; Bridges, in particular, is terrific in this scene, managing to make me laugh and then pull at my heartstrings only a few lines of dialogue later. El Royale does an excellent job balancing these conversations with action, and this scene is the first example of this; you won’t see the climax of this scene coming and it made me react in a more visceral way than I would have done to a horror jump scare.

I could go on and on about the performances in this film. Jon Hamm impresses me every time I see him, and here it’s no exception. He starts off as Don Draper from Mad Men but with the irritating smarm cranked up to 100, but below the surface, he’s far more charming and genuinely funny than you first think. Dakota Johnson is effortlessly charming despite her villainous nature, pulling you in with her demeanour before stabbing you in the back. Chris Hemsworth, like I said earlier, goes against type as the film’s villain, and he absolutely convinced me that he would have young women fawning over him to do his every bidding. I quite liked Hemsworth here, I saw a different side of him that hasn’t been in his filmography thus far, hopefully, this signals the start of Hemsworth going for more alternative roles.

The film’s MVP is surely Cynthia Erivo though, given her relative lack of experience, but her ability to dominate a scene is unrivalled here. There are multiple scenes that showcase not only her acting skills but her singing ability too. Goddard puts her West End and Broadway background to terrific use. What could seem unnecessary is completely captivating because of how good a singer she is. I could listen to her sing for hours, and I’m honestly furious her versions of classic songs aren’t on the soundtrack.

There is so much good to say about the film that I haven’t even touched on yet. El Royale has extremely pretty visuals, gorgeous neon and bright colours surround the slightly garish hotel décor but it works thanks to its clever lighting, particular as fire comes into play at nightfall. Cinematographer Seamus McGarvey is known for his visually compelling style given his experiences on 2014’s Godzilla and 2012’s Avengers Assemble, and it’s put to great use here, managing to make a film set completely within a hotel seem massive at times, sprawling through the dark corridors behind the scenes.

Goddard also excels on both a writing and directing level, for me. As already mentioned, his dialogue is completely engaging, but he has crafted a very delicate story that had to be told in a certain way. Using an easy framing structure of the characters’ rooms split up into chapters, he’s able to delve into the character and develop the story simultaneously. What I found particularly enjoyable was the way the stories overlapped; we’d finish with one character, take a step back in time to follow another character and witness how they affected each other, seeing scenes from different angles that reveal new information. It’s a really impressively design film on that level, and it fits exactly what I like to see in a noir mystery.

The film isn’t without its flaws, however, and that’s largely due to its runtime. I found the story enthralling for 80% of its 140 minutes, but in its final act, it really begins to drag itself out longer than it needs to. I got the impression that Goddard thought he had more loose ends to tie up than he needed to, even though he didn’t but still left a loose end unresolved. The atmosphere in the cinema changed in this final act; the excitable buzz from the people around me had vanished for people checking their watches next to me. It didn’t affect me too badly, but it’s a film that absolutely could’ve shaved 20 minutes off its runtime and it wouldn’t have hampered the film in any way.

Still, for its runtime to be my only real concern, I’d say El Royale is a sterling success. Drew Goddard continues to impress as a young director and I can’t wait to see what he does next. The cast is terrific across the board, hopefully making a star out of Cynthia Erivo and telling the world that Jeff Bridges has a lot of enthusiasm left in him yet. I had high hopes for the film going into it, and though it wasn’t quite the masterpiece I wanted, it’s still a terrific time at the cinema.

Rhys’ Verdict:

4

JUMPSCARECUT: Ghostbusters: Answer The Call (2016)

Year: 2016
Directed by: Paul Feig
Cast: Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones, Chris Hemsworth

Written by Chris Gelderd

When unexplained sightings of ghosts start to come to light in New York City, former authors and scientists Erin Gilbert (Wiig) and Abby Yates (McCarthy) come together after being distant for many years to investigate the sightings.

With help from nuclear engineer Jillian Holtzmann (McKinnon) and subway worker Patty (Jones), the quartet form a business that aim to research and prove the existence of ghosts whilst keeping people safe. They hire dim-witted receptionist Kevin (Hemsworth) and form the ‘Ghostbusters’, kitted out with Holtzmann’s equipment, a new car provided by Patty’s uncle and Erin and Abby’s knowledge of the paranormal.

They discover that a seemingly normal man, Rowan North (Casey), is behind the spooky goings-on as he uses devices to amplify paranormal activity in a wider plan to destroy Manhattan to satisfy his own deranged hatred of humanity. Only the Ghostbusters can stop him before it is too late, and also before they are deemed frauds by the Mayor (Garcia)…

Never has a remake of an 80s classic gained so much fear, scrutiny, and doubt than ‘Ghostbusters’. We’ve had ‘The Karate Kid’, ‘RoboCop’, ‘Conan The Barbarian’ and even ‘Annie’ but this is off the chart. It’s not surprising given the cultural significance of the family-friendly 1984 original populated with now iconic genre moments, characters and showcasing the talent of actors at the top of their game. Films like the original come along once in a generation, such as ‘Back To The Future’ and even ‘The Terminator’. They are a product that just should not be touched.

And this effort by Paul Feig shows why.

Firstly, to not like this film doesn’t make me racist, sexist or any other ‘–ist’ you can think of. If anything, I’m a Paul-Feig-Comedy-ist. Populated with actors with little acting experience bar work on ‘Saturday Night Live’ and those who are Paul Feig’s usual suspects, this feels like a film where Feig and crew have a goal to reach but can be silly and stupid along the way as long as they reach the end credits. It’s that untouchable bond between cast and crew that doesn’t always work in delivering something worthy to stand by its predecessor.

Melissa McCarthy, surprisingly, is probably least irritating out of the 4 leading ladies and she comes across as most humane of them all. Kristen Wiig continues her style of comedy where she narrates and makes overly unnecessary comments and quips about people or situations which gets old very quick. Kate McKinnon, whom I thought would be the best, turns out to be the worst with an annoying amount of over-played “wacky scientist” characterisation that comes across as nothing but childish. And Leslie Jones, while thankfully not as loud and in your face as the trailers made out, has her moments to shine but still plays a very uninspiring character. In fact, all characters are what you get initially on introductions; they don’t change, develop or progress from start to end. You have to take two acceptable characters to follow at the same time as following two irritating ones, which never makes for total satisfaction in viewing.

It’s actually Chris Hemsworth who comes off ok here, granted he’s playing a man who is dense to the point it’s too OTT at times, but I was chuckling along the lines of how absurd his character Kevin was and what his role was even relevant for except more silly gags, a point of lust for Erin and to use in the finale.

And the actors are fuelled by one thing I don’t sit well with – the comedy. Modern comedy, or that comedy that Paul Feig injected into work like ‘Bridesmaids’ or ‘Spy’, is evident here. The film sucker punches you in the opening spooky 5 minutes where you have some wit in the script and you think you’re on safe ground; we even have the classic opening theme in short bursts, but then the “crude humour” that gained the film’s certification hits you.

Jokes and gags about wee and poo and sex and parts of the female anatomy. That’s when my expectations crashed and burned. If that sort of thing amuses you, along with characters who throw in racial quips, shout and do silly gurning and pratfalls in what I consider amateurish, lazy comedy, then you’ll be ok. If you prefer more discreet comedy and humour coming from character chemistry, serious delivery and an time when being crude wasn’t needed, then you’ll struggle to find this amusing.

Production-wise, it’s decent enough. It delivers a few moments that make you jump but if you’ve seen the trailers, you know when to expect them, and it’s always moments when the music goes quiet and then the sound is cranked up with loud piercing scream and exclamation. It’s not exactly discreet, but it’s there. And we have a wealth of locations across Manhatten to explore and plenty of energy from the leads to carry us through the 2hr story. The Ghostbusters certainly kick ghostly ass with a variety of gadgets and gizmos to add more action and excitement to the demand for bigger and better action scenes.

Nods to the 1984 original come thick and fast, and it shows that even though this is a reboot of the franchise, it can’t help remake the original bar a few character replacements. It shows to me there is no confidence in rebooting a series to be more original and just serves as a silly love-letter to the original from shoe-horning in short but amusing cameos from nearly all the main cast, showing us the firehouse, revamping ECTO-1, introducing Slimer and his girlfriend (ugh), keeping the proton packs and traps, and pretty much doing the same story but tweaked. From the opening pre-titles to the large, white monster in the finale, it’s a checklist of “spot the homage” in a film that doesn’t know what it wants to be.

But where the film most is the CGI. All the ghosts look like something from a computer game or an episode of Scooby-Doo. Colourful, crisp and cartoonish. A few work, most not and there is very little realism to them if anything. At least the original had effective model work and make-up on actors to give us something that resembled a human or monster, rather than just a colourful CGI creature. And it’s over-used in the finale where again, Feig abuses what he can do with CGI and delivers a tension free, action-heavy battle in front of green-screen that goes for excess rather than simplicity. No model/actor-in-costume/camera manipulation here like the iconic Stay Puft Marshmallow Man – we have a CGI Godzilla style creature destroying the CGI city like all modern blockbuster films have their villain doing now. Yawn.

If I’d have known the humour would be this crass and lazy, I’d have not watched it but I did, as many will, out of curiosity on how a classic film is re-imagined for a modern generation. With another final moment after the credits that once more shows a lack of originality in setting up a sequel, I left feeling disappointed. That’s all. I wanted to enjoy it, but it just wasn’t for me. Had I known there would be so much nostalgia over originality, I’d have just watched the original at home and seen it done properly.

I will say one thing, I think it’s clear that a quarter of the budget went to the designing the closing credits; very visually appealing right to the end I have to say. Good job!

Let The Games Begin In New ‘Bad Times At The El Royale’ Trailer

“Seven strangers, each with a secret to bury, meet at Lake Tahoe’s El Royale, a rundown hotel with a dark past. Over the course of one fateful night, everyone will have a last shot at redemption… before everything goes to hell.”

Directed by: Drew Goddard

Cast: Jeff Bridges, Chris Hemsworth, Jon Hamm, Dakota Johnson, Cynthia Erivo, Nick Offerman, Cailee Spaeny, Lewis Pullman

Release Date: October 5th, 2018

It’s Time To Check-In In The First Trailer For “Bad Times At The El Royale”

“Seven strangers, each with a secret to bury, meet at Lake Tahoe’s El Royale, a rundown hotel with a dark past. Over the course of one fateful night, everyone will have a last shot at redemption… before everything goes to hell.”

Directed by: Drew Goddard

Cast: Jeff Bridges, Chris Hemsworth, Jon Hamm, Dakota Johnson, Cynthia Erivo, Nick Offerman, Cailee Spaeny, Lewis Pullman

Release Date: October 5th, 2018

 

Avengers: Infinity War

Year: 2018
Directed by: Joe & Anthony Russo
Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johannson, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Chadwick Boseman, Letitia Wright, Danai Gurira, Sebastian Stan, Winston Duke, Josh Brolin, Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Tom Holland, Paul Rudd, Benedict Cumberbatch, Vi Diesel, Pom Klementieff, Jeremy Renner, Benicio Del Tor, Jon Favreau, Benedict Wong, Sean Gunn, Anthony Mackie, Don Cheadle, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper

Written by Dave Curtis

18 films, 10 years and it all comes down to this. ‘Avengers Infinity War’ is the film that Marvel studios has been building too ever since Robert Downey’s first ‘Iron Man’ appeared on our cinema screens back in 2008. Back then, Marvel weren’t even a proper studio, they were just a small cog in a much bigger wheel. Well, now they are the wheel. To say this is a big deal would be a understatement. This is the ultimate event movie. The hype and build up that surround the release of the film have been huge. Very few spoilers have leaked out and we are going to keep it that way. JUMPCUT will be releasing much more and spoiler filled and in-depth reviews over the next few weeks.

This is just initial reactions from the press screening that happened in London on 24th May 2018

Before the screening you could feel the anticipation in the room. Conversations were rife with the future of all our favourite characters. Where’s Hawkeye? Does Cap’s beard play a major role? Where’s that missing soul stone? Answers were coming. The lights went out and the Marvel Studio logo comes up and the crowd went wild.

For the next 149 minutes we were all putty in the Russo brother’s hands. They have woven a tale which bounces around all Marvel’s best and across the darkest corners of the universe and back again to New York and Wakanda. It was always going to be a hard job to give every character their moment but ‘Infinity War’ just about does that. With multiple story-lines, it does feel more like ‘Return of the Jedi’ and ‘The Two Towers’ than the normal single story narrative. The script is so tight and every word that is said is important, so listen carefully.

Thanos lives up to his reputation at the ultimate bad guy (A problem Marvel has had in the past). The Mad Titan is at the heart of the movie and Josh Brolin’s voice will send shivers down the spine of any mortal man. He truly is a test for the Avengers.

‘Avengers Infinity War’ at its best is epic, emotional and very, very shocking. It has impressive set pieces and of course it’s very funny. The few faults it does have are going to be down purely to the viewer. A knowledge of all that has happened before is essential. This is not the film for newbies. If you don’t know your Captain Americas from your Star Lords then maybe it would be best to catch up first. . Also as you expect some characters get more screen time than others, sadly some of your favs may just be bit part players. Overall this was worth the wait.

‘Infinity War’ holds true to its core and has truly raised stakes on the Marvel cinematic universal. Nothing will be the same again. Roll on May 2019 for Avengers 4.

ps. There is a end of credit scene, so don’t leave early!

Dave’s Rating: 8.5/10

You can hear more of Dave’s thoughts in his podcast!

The End Begins In Brand New ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ Trailer

Directed by: Joe & Anthony Russo

Starring: Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johannson, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Chadwick Boseman, Letitia Wright, Danai Gurira, Sebastian Stan, Winston Duke, Josh Brolin, Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Tom Holland, Paul Rudd, Benedict Cumberbatch, Vi Diesel, Pom Klementieff, Jeremy Renner, Benicio Del Tor, Jon Favreau, Benedict Wong, Sean Gunn, Anthony Mackie, Don Cheadle, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper ,

Date: April 26th, 2018