Jean Begins To Lose Control In The First ‘Dark Phoenix’ Trailer

“In DARK PHOENIX, the X-MEN face their most formidable and powerful foe: one of their own, Jean Grey. During a rescue mission in space, Jean is nearly killed when she is hit by a mysterious cosmic force. Once she returns home, this force not only makes her infinitely more powerful, but far more unstable. Wrestling with this entity inside her, Jean unleashes her powers in ways she can neither comprehend nor contain. With Jean spiraling out of control, and hurting the ones she loves most, she begins to unravel the very fabric that holds the X-Men together. Now, with this family falling apart, they must find a way to unite — not only to save Jean’s soul, but to save our very planet from aliens who wish to weaponize this force and rule the galaxy.”

Directed by: Simon Kinberg

Cast: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Sophie Turner, Tye Sheridan, Alexandra Shipp, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Evan Peters, and Jessica Chastain

Release Date: February 14th, 2019

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Official ‘Dark Phoenix’ Synopsis Released Ahead Of The First Trailer Tonight!

20th Century Fox have this afternoon announced that the first trailer for the long awaited X-Men sequel, Dark Phoenix, will be aired tonight on the Late Late Show in the US, and will arrive online around the same time.

The film, which was originally scheduled to release November this year but was pushed back to allow for reshoots, also has it’s first official synopsis and poster!

“In DARK PHOENIX, the X-MEN face their most formidable and powerful foe: one of their own, Jean Grey. During a rescue mission in space, Jean is nearly killed when she is hit by a mysterious cosmic force. Once she returns home, this force not only makes her infinitely more powerful, but far more unstable. Wrestling with this entity inside her, Jean unleashes her powers in ways she can neither comprehend nor contain. With Jean spiraling out of control, and hurting the ones she loves most, she begins to unravel the very fabric that holds the X-Men together. Now, with this family falling apart, they must find a way to unite — not only to save Jean’s soul, but to save our very planet from aliens who wish to weaponize this force and rule the galaxy.”

Who are you most excited to see return in Dark Phoenix?

Directed by: Simon Kinberg

Cast: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Sophie Turner, Tye Sheridan, Alexandra Shipp, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Evan Peters, and Jessica Chastain

Release Date: February 14th, 2019

American Animals

Year: 2018
Directed by: Bart Layton
Starring: Evan Peters, Barry Keoghan, Blake Jenner, Jared Abrahamson, Ann Dowd

Written by Rhys Bowen-Jones

Following in the footsteps of Sarah Buddery’s Blackkklansman review, I’m finding American Animals a really difficult film to review. I’ve been trying to find an angle from which to approach the film since I saw it. It’s a film that has been firmly trenched in my mind for days now, despite the fact that on initial reflection, I wasn’t a big fan of it. Or at least, I don’t think I was. The film has morphed in my mind thanks to the numerous discussions I’ve had and articles I’ve read into something that I didn’t think it was, but even now I’m still completely unsure of myself. So, with that in mind, let’s do a deep dive into Bart Layton’s American Animals.

American Animals is a true story about two friends, Warren Lipka (Evan Peters) and Spencer Reinhard (Barry Keoghan), who are seemingly bored with the day to day life of university. Spencer notes how he always feels like he’s waiting for something to happen. Warren considers himself something of an Artful Dodger, and the two conspire to do something extraordinary…just because. That something extraordinary? To steal an extremely valuable collection of books from the University library and sell them for profit.

There are a lot of positives to be said about American Animals, particularly the performances. Evan Peters has been on the map for years after his regular starring roles in American Horror Story, but has never made the leap to a true leading man. Here, he’s very much playing the Evan Peters-type, the cocksure, street smart, witty college student, but he seems to understand the vulnerability behind Warren. His natural charm gets him out of several holes, but once he’s in a place of uncertainty, his frailty comes out, and he loses his cool easily. Peters plays the role excellently.

Barry Keoghan’s Spencer is different. Spencer is an Art History major and an excellent artist, as shown by his hand-drawn library blueprints. He comes across as a university student who is only there to satisfy his parents. He doesn’t seem challenged by university, and feels he’s destined for something more than he’s doing. Keoghan, one of Hollywood’s current golden boys following stellar performances in The Killing of a Sacred Deer and Dunkirk, is perfect for the role. His unassuming nature and blasé attitude to everything he does, no matter how ordinary or extraordinary, is something Keoghan does well. Spencer has an intelligence about him that goes far beyond his peers, but he downplays it for others’ benefit.

Other elements of American Animals leave an impression too. The cinematography is particularly impressive in the first two-thirds of the film (this sadly diminishes as the film progresses, which I’ll get to later), cross cutting our protagonists with various “American animals,” shown as startled owls, deer in headlights, vicious bald eagles. The first few opening shots of an upside down horizon and an upside down American flag blowing in the wind are particularly impressive, but like I said, this style doesn’t last.

Music also plays a great part in the proceedings, ramping up tension when necessary and infusing scenes with 50s, 60s, and 70s rock classics, per Warren’s taste, to complement the imagery. Composer Anne Nikitin felt in control, knowing when to bring music to the fore front and when to have it drift in the background.

Here is where this review reaches a fork in the road. I saw American Animals on an evening where it was a secret film, I had an idea what the film would be, but I didn’t know for certain. I’d seen one trailer beforehand, so I went in fairly blind. I’m about to reveal a major element of the film because I feel it needs to be discussed relating to the efficacy of the film, but if you wouldn’t like to know what it is, please close this tab and carry on with your day. If you’re curious, read along.

Are we safe? Has everyone gone? Okay.

American Animals is a documentary. Or, it’s half of one. Bart Layton frequently cuts into the dramatic narrative to show interview footage with the real Warren Lipka, and the real Spencer Reinhard. This completely took me by surprise. At first, I was fascinated by the execution of it; Layton has effectively created a documentary of his own film and shown them both simultaneously. The documentary aspect brings a new dimension to the film and really drives home the unreliable narrator angle.

The story has two narrators, and both of them remember the story differently. There are some very creative sequences where we see the same event from two different perspectives. The real Warren remembers telling The real Spencer about his heist plan at a party, but Keoghan’s Spencer, mid-party, tells Peters’ Warren to “pull in here” because The real Spencer remembers being told of the heist while they were driving. Scenes change on screen as the real person narrates it differently and it adds to the experience, questioning who we can trust, and asking us what to think of The real Warren and Spencer.

Being half a documentary is both a help and a hindrance to American Animals. The help comes with scenes as described above, and offering insights into the actual people behind the heist, but the hindrances, for me at least, outweighed the positives. So much of the tension within the heist was diminished knowing certain details about the outcome just from visuals alone. The beginning of the film, upon reflection, is further interview footage showing a reaction to the crime that promised to be shocking and something that they couldn’t believe happened. And yet, the heist we got doesn’t have the necessary shock factor to stick the landing.

The tonal whiplash from being a smart, Edgar Wright-ish heist film to a stereotypical documentary results in an ultimately frustrating experience. The film promises so much in its opening half an hour and doesn’t manage to deliver on such promises. I mentioned earlier about the cinematography losing its way as the film progresses, there is an angle from which I understand the decision to make the film less flashy as the fantasy becomes reality, but it doesn’t come across as well as it thinks it does.

I hope you see why I found this so difficult to write about it. It’s a film that, despite my frustrations, deserves to be talked about from many different perspectives – the morality of the students, the filmmaking, the way the students are perceived. ‘American Animals’ feels like a film that honestly could have been something spectacular, but it doesn’t manage to reach such dizzy heights.

Rhys’ Rating:

3

‘New Mutants’ Release Pushed Back AGAIN Along With ‘Dark Phoenix’ As Fox Shuffles Dates

Fox’s X-Men spin-off ‘New Mutants’, directed by Josh Boone, has been pushed back yet again. Originally set to release next month on April 22nd, it was announced towards the end of last year that the film was under-going re-shoots (and even adding in a new character) and consequently the release date was pushed back to February 22nd, 2019. Variety are now reporting that it has been pushed back even further and now won’t hit cinema screens until August 2nd, 2019!

The latest film in Fox’s X-Men franchise, ‘Dark Phoenix’, has also now been pushed back and will now release February 22nd, 2019 – it’s original release date was November 2nd, 2018. There are only a few confirmed details of ‘Dark Phoenix’ so far, but what we do know is that it will take place a whole decade after Apocalypse tried to end the world in 2016’s ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’ and confirmed to return to their respective roles are James McAvoy, Sophie Turner, Tye Sheridan, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Alexandra Shipp, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Evan Peters, and Nicholas Hoult. Jessica Chastain also joins this sequel, but all we know about her mysterious character Lilandra so far is that she’s out to get Phoenix.

The Freddie Mercury biopic ‘Bohemian Rhapsody‘, which stars Rami Malek, takes a leap forward into ‘Dark Phoenix’s’ original release date of November 2nd 2018, after the biopic was scheduled for a Christmas Day 2018 release.

What are your thoughts on these date changes? Do they make you worried about the end product or do you think the wait will be worth it?

 

New ‘X:Men: Dark Phoenix’ Details Revealed

EW have revealed their latest cover, which is our first look at Sophie Turner as Jean Grey / Phoenix in the latest X:Men film, ‘Dark Phoenix’. New details the films plot and new/returning characters have also been revealed:

“Set in 1992, about 10 years after the events of last year’s X-Men: Apocalypse, Dark Phoenix opens with the X-Men, including Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence), Beast (Nicholas Hoult), Storm (Alexandra Shipp), Nightcrawler (Kodi Smit-McPhee), and Quicksilver (Evan Peters), in a new, unexpected role: national heroes. Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) even lands on the cover of Time magazine. But his growing ego puts the team at risk. “Pride is starting to get the better of him, and he is pushing the X-Men to more extreme missions,” Kinberg says. After they’re dispatched to space for a rescue mission, a solar flare hits the X-Jet and the surge of energy ignites a malevolent, power-hungry new force within Jean (Sophie Turner)— the Phoenix.”

Jessica Chastain joins this sequel as “an otherworldly shapeshifter” – a presumably villainous character that we’ll learn more about soon! The cast also promise a “massive twist halfway through that will irrevocably change the course of the franchise”, which already has us all kinds of excited!

‘X-Men: Dark Phoenix’ arrives in cinemas November 2nd 2018

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