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

‘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?

 

Red Sparrow

Year: 2018
Directed by: Francis Lawrence
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Joel Edgerton, Jeremy Irons, Matthias Schoenaerts, Charlotte Rampling, Mary-Louise Parker

WRITTEN BY: CHRIS GELDERD

This 2018 American spy thriller, directed by Francis Lawrence and based on the 2013 novel of the same name by Jason Matthews, stars Jennifer Lawrence, Joel Edgerton, Matthias Schoenaerts, Charlotte Rampling, Mary-Louise Parker, Ciaran Hinds and Jeremy Irons.

Following a career-ending injury, former Russian ballerina Dominika Egorova (Lawrence) is offered a new life and a new place in society to help both her country and continue to care for her sick mother. Her uncle Ivan (Schoenaerts) sends her to train with Russian intelligence to become a ‘Sparrow’ – a covert spy.

Ivan is working alongside General Korchnoi (Irons) and Colonel Zacharov (Hinds) to observe known CIA operative Nate Nash (Edgerton) who is working with a mole in the Russian government. It is Nash who Dominika, fully trained, is assigned to in order to gain his trust and find the mole.

But Nash feels Dominika wasn’t born to serve the state – he offers her a chance to act as a double agent and help the CIA bring down a traitor in their own agency and end corruption within the Russian government. The fate of nations rests on just who Dominika will pledge her allegiance to…

With a title akin to that of a John Le Carré novel and evoking such celluloid thrillers such as ‘Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy’ or, most recently, ‘Atomic Blonde’, this espionage thriller doesn’t attempt to re-write the genre, but it does attempt to set it out of the usual template we are used to and on the whole it works because of it.

Jennifer Lawrence only appears on my radar thanks to the ‘X-Men’ universe and her role as shape-shifter Mystique. I’ve never seen ‘Hunger Games’ and a few of her other roles have cropped up, but don’t linger in my conscious for long after the credits roll. For the first time, I think she has nailed a role for mature audiences and gives a pretty good stab at things. From the ballet which she deftly carries out, to the basic Hollywood-Russian accent (could be worse) and the way she handles herself with quiet confidence and fragile emotion, Lawrence thankfully let me forget her otherwise annoyingly brattish, egotistical and otherwise simply self-centred attitude off camera to invest in her mature Dominika, a world away from American Lawrence, for these 2 hours.

Sharing the spotlight is the poor man’s (or some now say rich man’s) Jeremy Renner in the guise of Joel Edgerton. The man can act just fine, and he constantly gives himself to the material on offer to pull out a good performance. Here his CIA agent Nate Nash goes up against both Russian and American governments to be the spy we can at least have faith in fighting the good fight. He’s likeable and keeps things moving with his urgency and determination to break down an unbreakable Sparrow, which leaves his character in a good position as you always question if he’s going to make it to the end credits without being double-crossed or killed.

The supporting cast also nail their performances and carry over the accents that Hollywood teaches them for Russian officials and agents. Jeremy Irons is at his brooding, menacing best here but still somehow feels under-used, which is a shame because his role could be that of Simon Gruber 20 years later. Matthias Schoenaerts has an aura about him you feel comfortable yet uneasy about during his screen time which is exactly what is needed, and Charlotte Rampling, Ciaran Hinds, and Joely Richardson offer their veteran talent to flesh out a cast who you can really get behind and see their pieces in the puzzle.

Story-wise, the film (from the novel remember) doesn’t try to give us anything too complex or ground-breaking which is what I want in these things. I want something that has worked for years and years, just presented in a fresh way. It’s these factors that lifted ‘Red Sparrow’ into something much more enjoyable than if it had been a carbon-copy of what we’ve seen before where even the cast couldn’t have elevated things with their tools.

The opening minutes are some of the most well shot and scored moments I’ve seen recently. Simple, but effective. The haunting and powerful music by James Newton Howard and cinematography by Jo Willems introduces us without the need for dialogue to paint a post-Cold War Russia and America, present-day countries that are rife with corruption and covert counter intelligence, more relevant than ever in our President Trump era.

The look and sound of ‘Red Sparrow’ is both beautiful and grim at the same time. The elegance and pride bleed off the screen when we see the glory of Mother Russia, but in a heartbeat turns to a dark and working-class world were nothing can guarantee your safety in the eyes of spies. Moscow, London, and Budapest are stunning cities and the perfect backdrop to the staged spy game, and nothing is really held back by director Francis Lawrence. It’s a mature film for mature audiences; it doesn’t shy away from the violence and brutality, yet is never gratuitous. There is nothing we don’t see, hear or feel that isn’t important to our characters and story, and plenty of moments had me wincing and grimacing in my seat. And it was brilliant. Just the reaction I wanted from a film shying away from watering down content for young audiences.

And as for the idea of exploitation of women, I for one found the sexual slant of this story tasteful and powerful and respectful to both Jennifer Lawrence in her portrayal and that of women in general. With a tidal wave sweeping through Hollywood about equality, the idea of using one’s body as a weapon initially seems to U-turn the movement, but actually, it is a raw and natural thing for these hard-edged and brutal spies to do. The mind and body is a weapon, and we are reminded that through brilliant training sequences from the delicious 007 Rosa Klebb-esque Charlotte Rampling.

The male targets come across as single-minded and stupid and blind to everything around them when presented with a suggestive glimpse of flesh or wandering hand. Lawrence plays it perfectly and never looks or feels exploited, at least in my opinion. It’s a harsh, brutal world of covert intelligence set in a totally different world than the West understands, and so in that respect, it makes perfect sense and easily throws us out of our comfort zone.

It’s these elements that drag it above standard American-based thrillers. While the story sags a little in the middle, easily allowing us to shave a good 10 minutes off the talky-talky moments, the flow is bookended with tight sequences that offer thrills, tension and bloody action without ever having to feel they need to resort to loud, physics-defying shoot-outs, car chases or dumb action sequences.

It’s a grounded and down to earth film with a climax you may or may not see coming as the pieces fall into place, but it’s done in a neat way that you’ll be happy with if you’ve enjoyed the journey through the beauty and danger of Capitalist West v Communist East.

CHRIS’ RATING: 9/10

Looks Can Be Deceiving In A Brand New ‘Red Sparrow’ Trailer

“Dominika Egorova is many things. A devoted daughter determined to protect her mother at all costs. A prima ballerina whose ferocity has pushed her body and mind to the absolute limit. A master of seductive and manipulative combat.”

Directed By: Francis Lawrence

Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Joel Edgerton, Mary-Louise Parker, Jeremy Irons, Ciarán Hinds, Matthias Schoenaerts

Release Date: 2nd March 2018

 

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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Mother!

Year: 2017
Director: Darren Aronofsky
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris, Michelle Pfeiffer

Written by Sasha Hornby

‘Mother!’ is the latest film written and directed by American auteur Darren Aronofsky, director of ‘Black Swan’ and ‘Requiem for a Dream’, about a couple whose relationship is tested when uninvited guests arrive at their home.  At least, this is what the official synopsis and trailers would like you to believe; the tagline ‘seeing is believing’ has rarely been more apt. 

‘Mother!’ is part metaphysical thriller, part psychological drama, sometimes black comedy and perhaps a little surreal mystery.  In all honesty, it defies description.  The film takes place entirely in one beautifully quaint, grand house.  Burned down at an unspecified point in history, Jennifer Lawrence’s character, ‘Mother’, has painstakingly restored the abode in which she resides with Javier Bardem’s character, ‘Him’, whilst he sits in his study suffering from chronic writer’s block.  When the ‘Man’ and ‘Woman’ (Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer) turn up univited, the paradise Mother is building begins to unwind.

Jennifer Lawrence as Mother is transcendent.  Undoubtedly a career-best performance, ‘Mother!’ is her film.  Rarely panning out beyond 12 inches from her face when she is the focus, and when she isn’t, giving only her viewpoint of the world around her, the camera is her.  Her sanity and reality is consistently brought into question, and so too is the viewer’s.  In one scene, she questions Him about the supposed stranger, “he has pictures of you in his luggage”.  Instead of attempting to explain this obvious non-coincidence, he simply retorts “what were you doing in their luggage?”. There is a lot to be said for instinct, and it is natural for a person to investigate when something feels wrong or out of place; such as a man turning up at your door claiming ‘they’ told him the house was a B&B.  Him is elusive in his non-answer, twisting the narrative, and manipulating Mother to feel she is in the wrong.

She personifies introversion and anxiety – unable to leave the house she has built and unwilling to accept visitors.  As hers are the eyes through which we see events unfold, her agitation and emotional strain begin to fuse with our own, making for an increasingly intense and claustrophobic experience.  This is only heightened by the bold lack of scoring, which becomes deafening, as mundane, everyday noises scream in the background.  When she meets the Woman, the Woman observes “you really love him, god help you.”  Her love for Him is toxic.  She does everything for Him, to protect Him, to provide for Him, to support Him, without question, whilst getting very little back in return.  She gives Him her all, free from expectation; the purest of love. 

Javier Bardem is perfect in the role of Him.  He is, of course, considerably older than Mother, though this is acknowledged.  He speaks calmly, with a cool smile, and calls Mother his goddess.  He loses his ‘cool’ once – when the mysterious glowing crystal he keeps in his study is smashed beyond repair by the Man and Woman.  It will only become clear in the final scenes why he is so creepily possessive over this trinket.  In the first half of the film, he is cold and distant, consumed by his lack of life, lack of inspiration.  After one passionate encounter with Mother, he is full of life and inspiration, yet still distant, consumed with completing his finest work.  He is not an obvious villain, but a man selfishly obsessed with his poetry, his legacy. 

The Man and Woman, as played by Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer, are deliciously devilish.  He, a dying old man looking to meet his idol; her, a cynical woman who cannot resist prying into the lives of the protagonists.  The Woman has some of the keenest insights throughout.  When a tragedy is bestowed upon her, she talks of being a mother herself – “you give and you give and you give, its just never enough”.  ‘Its just never enough’ is a recurring theme throughout ‘Mother!’.

The Man and the Woman are not the only visitors.  As events unfold, more visitors arrive to worship Him; and more and more and more.  The worship is poisonous; they are infatuated with Him, and treat Him like a deity, and Him accepts this worship as though it validates his existence.  When Mother questions “who are they?”, he answers excitedly “they’ve come here to see me.”  His ego is ultimately more important than the safety and mental well-being of his ‘goddess’.  When that moment (believe me, you’ll know it when you see it) occurs, he is still willing to forgive his followers, rather than chastise them for their abhorrent, sickening, shocking behaviour. 

If you hadn’t already noticed, no one in ‘Mother!’ is named.  This only adds to the prophetic feeling, like ‘Mother!’ is an allegory for society, for religion, for pathologically abusive relationships, for the current political climate, for war, for everything that is wrong with the world.  All showcased in one house, in one woman’s nightmare. 

One of the several trailers claims “you will never forget where you were the first time you saw Mother!”  I definitely won’t.  Never, and I mean never, has a film had me so on the edge of my seat, mouth agape, eyes unblinking, in the final act.  It is a slow burn, that at it’s crescendo, will tear you apart.  ‘Mother!’ may be the best film I won’t ever revisit; a dizzying experience that I will recommend to all at least once. 

Sasha’s rating: 8 out of 10

 

First Trailer For ‘Red Sparrow’ Lands Online!

“Dominika Egorova is many things. A devoted daughter determined to protect her mother at all costs. A prima ballerina whose ferocity has pushed her body and mind to the absolute limit. A master of seductive and manipulative combat.

When she suffers a career-ending injury, Dominika and her mother are facing a bleak and uncertain future. That is why she finds herself manipulated into becoming the newest recruit for Sparrow School, a secret intelligence service that trains exceptional young people like her to use their bodies and minds as weapons.

After enduring the perverse and sadistic training process, she emerges as the most dangerous Sparrow the program has ever produced. Dominika must now reconcile the person she was with the power she now commands, with her own life and everyone she cares about at risk, including an American CIA agent who tries to convince her he is the only person she can trust.”

Directed by: Francis Lawrence
Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Joel Edgerton, Matthias Schoenaerts, Charlotte Rampling, Mary-Louise Parker and Jeremy Irons
Release Date: 2nd March 2018

Chilling First Trailer Arrives For Darren Aronofsky’s ‘Mother!’

“A couple’s relationship is tested when uninvited guests arrive at their home, disrupting their tranquil existence.”

Directed By: Darren Aronofsky
Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris, Michelle Pfeiffer, Domhnall Gleeson
Release Date: 15th September 2017