Why SING Is Going To Rock

Written by Dalton Brown

Scrolling through the “Upcoming Releases” section on IMDb, I came across a movie that looked very promising. The thing that caught my eye was not the title, but instead the leading actress; Scarlett Johansson. I guess you could say I’m a fan of her and the movies she’s in. I was particularly impressed with her performance in ‘Under The Skin’ and she also kills it as the Operating System in ‘Her’. Hell, even her character in ‘The Spongebob Squarepants Movie’ is entertaining. Needless to say, I like her and I think she could be one of the best actresses around today. I also think she’s very attractive too, so there’s that.

Getting back on track, she’s going to star in an upcoming movie alongside Taron Egerton, Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, and Nick Offerman. The movie is titled ‘Sing’ and it’s an animated musical. Although plot details are kind of limited at present, it’s about anthropomorphic animals trying to help a koala save his beloved theatre. As you may have guessed, the plot didn’t exactly get my attention, but the cast certainly did.

Ever since I saw Taron Egerton in the awesome ‘Kingsman: The Secret Service’ movie, I’ve been rooting for him to star in more shit and it looks like my dream came true, as he’s not only going to be in ‘Sing’, but ‘Eddie The Eagle’ as well (both of which are coming out this year). ‘Eddie the Eagle’ comes out sometime in March, whereas ‘Sing’ releases later in the year, amid the festive frenzy in December.

The only thing I’m wary about is the fact that ‘Sing’ is an animated musical…but I’m also kinda excited about that too. I have rarely seen a good animated musical; most of them are pure garbage. No, I wasn’t a fan of ‘Happy Feet’, nor was I a fan of ‘Happy Feet 2’ either. Come to think of it, I don’t think I even saw ‘Happy Feet 2’. I don’t remember, there’s too many penguin musicals out there, like ‘The Pebble and The Penguin’, which was absolutely atrocious. Needless to say, animated musicals seem to bore me because I feel as if they’re missing that “charm” that makes musicals like ‘Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory’ so entertaining and lovable.

I seriously think that ‘Sing’ will break the trend of bad animated musicals though, because the character designs look cool. There’s an elephant character in there, and when I saw that, I was sold (mainly because I love elephants). I’m just hoping that Egerton will be voicing the elephant because that would be a dream come true; a dream that I didn’t even know I had until five minutes ago, when I first heard about ‘Sing’. The other reason I think ‘Sing’ will be a success is because of the plot. It’s odd, for sure, but there’s potential for a great movie there. The poster, too, really caught my eye. Resembling the exterior of a Broadway theatre, with the names of the cast on the marquee; it’s simple, but I find it aesthetically pleasing.

To wrap this up, I think that this year is a very good year for movies, especially when it comes to animated films. 2015 was a pretty shitty year for animation, but with Disney’s ‘Moana’, Laika’s ‘Kubo and The Two Strings’ and an all-star cast lending their voices to ‘The Little Prince’, this year looks set to be a big improvement. I just hope that all of these movies deliver some fun, and I especially hope that ‘Sing’ is as phenomenal as it promises to be. Bring it on 2016, I’m ready!

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Watch This Space: June 8 – 14

Welcome to your weekly go-to-guide – WatchThisSpace – where we give you recommendations of films to watch in the cinema, on the television and those brilliant films hiding at the back of your DVD collection.

IN THE CINEMA

The day has finally come. After moths of waiting, and an unrelenting series of trailers/teasers, ‘Jurassic World’ is here. Colin Trevorrow’s relaunch of the iconic series promises terror, action and wonder aplenty. Advanced screening reviews are tending to be almost unanimous in the belief that this is the sequel that the original truly deserves, despite there being a hiatus on reviews containing plot spoilers. Get yourself along to the cinema and experience the wonder of being a child all over again, in what people are tipping to be the hottest blockbuster of the year. 

A slightly unusual film is also released in UK cinemas this week in the form of musical ‘London Road’. The plot follows the struggles of a local community in Ipswich after their quiet community is shattered by a series of murders. A story based on the real events of 2006, this film is an adaptation of the very successful West-End musical, and the original cast star alongside two of Britain’s finest actors in Tom Hardy and Olivia Colman. This film has already gone down well with critics so we’d expect this to definitely be worth a trip to the big screen. 

ON TELEVISION

Tuesday 22:45 GMT: With Colin Trevorrow’s dinosaur-filled blockbuster hitting cinemas this week, seeing another of his feature length films in ‘Safety Not Guaranteed’ on Film4 sounds like a good idea. This film is regarded as grossly underrated by the film industry and its fans, and we admit it has passed us by util now. So we’re going to sit down with you and watch this for the first time as well! 

Wednesday 23:10 GMT: Cinema at its dark and sordid best here in ‘Shame’ on Film4 this week. Michael Fassbender is the main man, playing a sex-crazed New York executive and Carey Mulligan stars alongside him as his sister. A particularly sexually graphic film that will have you recoiling in horror at one man’s path towards self-destruction.

Friday 23:10 GMT: The Colin Farrell remake may have been an absolute travesty, but the 1990 version of ‘Total Recall’ with Arnie is the perfect, action packed, sci-fi thriller on ITV.

Sunday 15:40 GMT: George Miller isn’t just into car chases and mad men, he also loves all singing, all dancing penguins. See the proof with ‘Happy Feet’ on ITV2.

Sunday 21:00 GMT: Whilst ‘Age Of Ultron’ may have disappointed upon release earlier this year, you can see how the Marvel Cinematic Universe kicked off in style with ‘Iron Man’ on Film4. 

DIG IT OUT

This is our favourite part of the WatchThisSpace section. We delve into our own DVD collection and pick out some amazing films, that may not instantly spring to mind when you’re stuck for inspiration to make your movie night a success. Maybe you’ve never seen a film that we pick – or even heard of them for that matter – but you’re gonna have to trust us on this one, and Dig It Out.

Romeo + Juliet: With the epic trailer for ‘Macbeth’ landing last week, we thought it apt to forage into the Shakespearean collection for more. Starring the impeccable Leonardo DiCaprio, and Claire Danes (Homeland), this is a stunning modernisation of the ultimate romantic tale. A reimagining perfectly brought to life by the master of contemporary/classical contrasts – Baz Luhrmann.

The Green Mile: We each had a go at putting together a list of our top 50 films of all time last week. The result of hours of gruelling decision making, was two lists with a diverse range of films on both sides. But one film which stands out as being a must see, is Tom Hanks’ brilliant depiction of a death row officer. If you haven’t seen it already, get ready for a heartbreaking yet magical story. One of the only films which never fails to send me to tears.

Black Swan: What better way to celebrate Natalie Portman’s upcoming birthday this week ,then to relive arguably her best ever performance. ‘Black Swan’ is a truly wonderful cinematic experience, with an utterly mesmerising soundtrack. A film that investigates personal ambition and the lengths that someone will go to to live out their dream. Haunting and disturbing, this psychological thriller is not for the faint-hearted, but it is one of our favourite films so we recommend you get your hands on a copy and get watching! 

Pan’s Labyrinth: Following Barcelona’s victory in the UEFA Champions League at the weekend, we thought it would be appropriate to dig out one of Spain’s more notable cinematic contributions. ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’ is dark and twisted retelling of the Spanish Civil War from the viewpoint of a small girl with a vivid imagination. This film is as violent as it is disturbing and unsettling, but we recommend it all the same. 

This week’s WatchThisSpace was compiled by Jakob Lewis Barnes and Nick Deal

Mad Max: Fury Road

Written by Jakob Lewis Barnes and Nick Deal

News of the plans for ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ absolutely evaded my radar until about a year ago. I knew nothing of the franchise and nothing of the complications in getting this fourth film to the big screen. The project was put on hold for a lengthy 25 years, with financial difficulties, security concerns and the short attention span of Mel Gibson bringing the fourth installment to a standstill. That is, until 2006 when director George Miller declared his intention to make the film, even if Mel Gibson wasn’t willing to reprise his role as Max Rockatansky. Several years later, and my attention was peaked with news that Tom Hardy would be leading the cast for the all-action reboot; I was sold almost instantly.

Back in 1979, a fresh-faced Mel Gibson donned head to toe leather and put his Australian ancestry to good use as the titular character in ‘Mad Max’. The lure of fast cars, big explosions and dangerous biker gangs was enough to elevate the film to cult status; the fans wanted more. And George Miller duly obliged, with the hard-hitting 1981 sequel ‘The Road Warrior’. This follow up excelled where its predecessor failed, with more violence, more explosions and a Max with a darker, more dangerous edge. Literally, everything an action movie should be – success all round. Sadly, a trilogy dictates that there must be a third film, and everybody knows “three’s a crowd”. Roping in the help of a pop diva was always going to be problematic, and as the main antagonist in ‘Beyond Thunderdome’, Tina Turner is nothing more than half-decent. Gone are the psychopathic bikers, replaced by a musical matriarch. Nonetheless, the legacy of ‘Mad Max’ lived on, just about surviving on the grounds of two out of three ain’t bad.

George Miller, the mastermind behind it all – as he is so regularly described – enjoyed an unusual career in the years following the famous trilogy. Perhaps it was the stress of the escaping dream of a ‘Mad Max’ quadrilogy which led Miller to settle down in the director’s chair for the farmyard fun of ‘Babe’. Fair play to the man – the film was nominated for seven Academy Awards and smashed the Australian box-office – but surely this was an anomaly, a nice, relaxing family film to break from all the violence. Wrong. Three years later and Miller stepped in to make a sequel. Even more odd, in 2006, the man with a penchant for action and explosions took on the all singing, all dancing ‘Happy Feet’ series. From post-nuclear warfare to theatrical penguins, quite the transformation.

Luckily, George Miller finally managed to give his fourth film life, and we have been treated to multiple teasers and trailers over the past year. From the footage we’ve seen so far, we can make certain predictions about what we can expect from this franchise reboot. Aesthetically and visually, this film looks absolutely stunning. Long tracking shots over vast open desert spaces, filled with intense and vivid colour. As far as setting and environment goes, I can’t think of any trailer off the top of my head which has instilled me with such a feeling of awe as ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ has. As we mentioned previously, this is a franchise which has been built on its reputation for all things violent and downright crazy. This fourth installment looks set to not only continue that trend, but take it to a whole new level with gravity-defying collisions, monumental explosions and incredible slow-motion action sequences all look set to feature prominently. And as far as those crazy antagonists, we need look no further than Nicholas Hoult’s stunning one-liner, “Oh what a lovely day”, to reassure us that this film will be just as mad as its characters allow it to be, and from the evidence we have, I would prepare for full-on insanity.

The trailers, particularly the latest offering, conjure up plenty of memories from the original trilogy. We see the famous gasoline truck which has served Max Rockatansky so well in the past, and there’s the haunting tune of the clockwork musical box which Max gifted to a feral child in ‘The Road Warrior’. Will this child return? Will Max’s HGV save the day again? Thankfully, the leading man himself appears to have adopted a delightfully dark and dangerous demeanour to put Mel Gibson’s portrayal to shame. Tom Hardy is a firm favourite with us, and he looks set to revel in his most action-packed role to date. Alongside him, Charlize Theron has the strong, leading lady role down to a tee. No surprise there. Here’s hoping her character, Imperator Furiosa, may finally be the one to match Mad Max and give him a real run for his gasoline.

It appears that this latest installment will have everything that thrill-seeking moviegoers could possibly hope for. Having seen the trailer in the cinema, there is no doubt that this is a film which needs to be enjoyed on the big screen. Truly, a stunning visual spectacle. ‘Fury Road’ promises to be the highlight of the series; bigger and better than ever before. The years have been kind to Max Rockatansky, clearly benefitting from the advancements in special effects. The action sequences look beautifully crafted and the backdrop that all of the action takes place against is absolutely breathtaking . Let’s just hope the curse of the trailer doesn’t strike again and fill us with false hope.

‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ is released in UK cinemas on May 15th 2015