JUMPCUT ALL THE WAY: Elf (2003)

Directed by: Jon Favreau
Cast: Will Ferrell, Zooey Deschanel, James Caan, Bob Newhart, Peter Dinklage

Written by Sarah Buddery

Arguably the greatest Christmas film ever, and easily the most quotable, Elf is the festive family staple that you’ll wish you could watch more than once a year.

Whilst Will Ferrell’s “man-baby” routine may be a little tiresome in some of his other more adult comedies, in Elf, it is perfectly pitched and suits the innocence and naivete of Buddy the Elf perfectly.

Elf is one of those rare, recent (although it is 15 years old this year!) Christmas films that has shown the test of time and still tops many people’s festive favourites. Everyone knows the story by now, but Elf follows the story of Buddy (Ferrell), a human who finds his way to the North Pole when he is just a baby, and is subsequently raised by Elves, believing himself to be one of them too. When he finds out he is in fact a human, and his biological Father lives in New York City, Buddy embarks on a journey through the seven levels of the candy cane forest, through the sea of swirly twirly gum drops and finally walks through the Lincoln Tunnel in search of his Daddy.

In the magical realm of New York, Buddy finds his family and tries his best to blend in. And this is of course when the hilarity of Elf kicks in. Elf succeeds in being consistently funny and delivering laughs and memorable moments in abundance. It has in fact been a Christmas tradition of mine for a few years now to attend the quote-a-long screenings at the Prince Charles Cinema, and nothing quite spreads the Christmas cheer like a room full of people (mostly adults!) screaming “SANTAAAAAAAAAAAA” at the appropriate moment.

Aside from Ferrell, this film has a host of other great performances, including one from a very young (and blonde!) Zoey Deschanel and James Caan, most well-known for being part of the Corleone family in The Godfather. A very different role in Elf, as you can well imagine, Caan is great as the put-upon Dad, and his onscreen relationship with Ferrell’s Buddy, is particularly wonderful.

Part of Elf’s enduring, endearing quality is that it has all the elements of a perfect Christmas movie. It is about as Christmassy as you can get, it’s full of jokes for all the family, and it delivers the perfectly wrapped message of Christmas spirit, believing in Santa, and the importance of family that really helps to cement it as a Christmas classic.

There’s not much more that can be said about Elf that hasn’t been said already. It is the staple of my festive film watching, and I’m sure it is for you too. Ignore anyone who says this is a kids film, it is a film for everyone, whether you grew up loving it or are a recent convert. It isn’t Christmas until you’ve watched Elf, so settle down with a bottle of syrup and get ready to sing loud for all to hear, “Santa Claus is coming to town!”

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

Disney Release First Teaser Trailer For Jon Favreau’s ‘The Lion King’

Directed by: Jon Favreau

Cast: Donald Glover, Beyoncé, James Earl Jones, Seth Rogan, Keegan-Michael Key, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Bill Echner, Eric André, John Oliver

Release Date: 19th July, 2019

Solo: A Star Wars Story

Year: 2018
Directed by: Ron Howard
Cast: Alden Ehrenreich, Donald Glover, Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Paul Bettany, Joonas Suotamo, Phoebe Waller-Bridge

Written by Chris Gelderd

In 10 films spanning 41 years, ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’ is the first of the franchise that started and ended production under a big black cloud. Original directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, wanting to make a “space comedy” were let go just 6 months into production due to creative differences. Acclaimed director Ron Howard came on weeks later to carry the film forward. Following that, extensive re-shoots were carried out to shape the film into the vision Howard and LucasFilm intended.

But before all this happened, the fans and critics were divided. Do we need or even want a film about a young Han Solo, a character immortalised in three films by Harrison Ford. Does the story of how he became the roguish smuggler and pilot with a bounty on his head and a large walking carpet as a friend need to be told? Who will ever be as talented and physically similar like Ford to pull this off? Will this fit into the wider Star Wars timeline or just be totally unique?

These questions never went away, and coupled with the rumours and hear-say and negative views on the production, it’s safe to say ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’ has had a mountain to climb just to get where it is today and win over audiences and critics alike.

Well, you can forget the woes about a trouble production and leave your picky questions at home because this space Western is slick, stylish and shows no sign of trouble at all. It’s a fun and light-hearted space adventure, just the sort George Lucas envisioned back in 1977. There is no dark, brooding conflict and mystical power hanging over the story – not to say there isn’t plenty of menace – and there are no Jedi Knights, Force powers and tedious links to the Skywalker story. This is how Han became Solo.

Think of it as a watered down ‘Casino Royale’ for all generations.

From the outset, Alden Ehrenreich had near impossible shoes to fill. Yet to enjoy his performance, we owe it to this talented actor to see he is portraying not Harrison Ford, but Han Solo. A character we know nothing about at this young age. Yes, it’s hard not to look for Ford in him, but if you look BEYOND the man he becomes, you enjoy him all the more for it. Alden bleeds Ford’s mannerisms in subtly, such as his stance, the way he fires his blaster and that dry sense of humour starting to form. He carries the film and proves that he was the right choice to cast.

Emilia Clarke is a little hard to buy into at first, and she only comes to life more in the second half. She may be a talent on the small screen, but somehow her presence on the big screen never leaps at you and she’s just a little forgetful for most of the time, and you don’t buy her relationship with Han as much as you probably should. Paul Bettany is our merciless villain, and while he also is a little glossed over sadly, he commands much of the threat our heroes face in the film and it’s refreshing to NOT be an Imperial officer or a Sith Lord as the bad guy.

Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian, equally having a big character to represent like Solo, does a fine job here. He’s smooth, charming and equally proud to look good and fight the good fight. The film could have benefited from more of his friendship with Solo to blossom, because you’re left wondering is this it? Is this the last time they see each other until the frosty reunion of ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ a good 15 or so years later? You probably expected more, but you at least get to understand Lando’s ESB greeting of “Why you slimy, double-crossing, no-good swindler!”

Chewbacca finally comes to life more than ever after six films and he really does what you’d expect from a Wookiee here, in more ways than one. Seeing the beginning and formation of a life-long friendship is wonderful to see, and there is nothing more satisfying than seeing Han and Chewie together doing what they do best. Joonas Suotamo, a more than worthy successor to Peter Mayhew, does a brilliant job.

One of the best performances comes from Woody Harrelson as Beckett; a mentor, gun-slinger, smuggler and outlaw. He’s the one who guides us and Han into the world of crime and also the real dangers that the galaxy throws at you. Harrelson is instantly likeable and really looks the part, spinning those blasters and leading his crew into battle. He’s having a blast, and it shows. It’s clear all the cast are enjoying themselves in these iconic roles and situations, and that makes it easy to invest in to have fun too, but some seem to enter and exit the film quicker than you’d expect.

Characters drive the film, and they are key in making it flow. While the run time is not too hefty, and certainly doesn’t drag, the story stumbles a little in the first act. It tries to find its feet, which may be evidence of the production woes.  Another slight irk is the humour; it’s not silly humour at all but sometimes you get the feeling the script is trying too hard to be funny when it doesn’t need to be. Phoebe Waller-Bridge as droid L3-37 is a highly off-putting and pointless character. When she speaks, the attitude and humour doesn’t seem fit for a Star Wars film. Something about her portrayal and character didn’t sit with me – it certainly wasn’t funny.

Once Howard does establish the story and the tone, it takes off a lot quicker. The story zips to various new planets in a blend of genres – from crime to drama to Western and sci-fi opera – to deliver something that adds nothing new to the timeline, but lets us have some fun out there without the need for Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker or the importance of civil wars being the focus point.

The action is slick and well executed, and the visual effects are spot-on. One bonus is that Howard seems to opt for more practical sets and action over CGI, and that adds to a much more real looking universe. From the slums of Corellia, to the dunes of Savareen and the nightmarish vortex of the Kessel Run, this is Star Wars at its finest, adventure planet-hopping best. It may be hard to adjust to a Star Wars film where Stormtroopers aren’t the main bad guys and the faceless Empire doesn’t do much or you see nothing of the Rebellion, but this is why the film is much braver than it appears.

It takes risks, it forces us to buy into a new idea and wants us to do nothing but enjoy the ride. Han Solo is just warming up and I want to see where he goes from here.

Is this a Star Wars film we needed in the timeline? Not really, but I’m glad we have it because Ron Howard just whetted my appetite for more of this sort of anthology film away from the ‘Episodes’. And on the basis of a certain cameo towards the end, the timeline just got a whole lot spicier!

Chris’ Rating: 

4

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

Marvel Unleash First ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ Trailer

“An unprecedented cinematic journey ten years in the making and spanning the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe, Marvel Studios’ “Avengers: Infinity War” brings to the screen the ultimate, deadliest showdown of all time. The Avengers and their Super Hero allies must be willing to sacrifice all in an attempt to defeat the powerful Thanos before his blitz of devastation and ruin puts an end to the universe.

Anthony and Joe Russo direct the film, which is produced by Kevin Feige. Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Michael Grillo and Stan Lee are the executive producers. Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely wrote the screenplay.”

It’s finally arrived! After months of fan speculation, numerous fake pictures and screenshots of release dates, Marvel have unleashed the first official trailer for the third ‘Avengers’ film, ‘Infinity War’.

The star studded film brings together every hero we’ve met in the last 10 years, including Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, The Guardians, Black Widow, Hawkeye, and Black Panther. They’re all coming together to take on the Mad Titan, Thanos, who we’ve seen very little of and only ever really been teased about the threat he poses to Earth. Last time we saw him he grabbed his currently stone-less Gauntlet and declared “I’ll do it myself”.

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In the first post-credit scene, Thor, Loki, Valkyrie, and the Asgardians come face to face with a humongous ship. Fans speculate that ship belongs to non-other than the Mad Titan himself, and that this will tie in with the beginning of ‘Infinity War’.

The heroes also feature in the latest Vanity Fair issue, which includes photos of how some of the heroes will look in the film, but as many have noticed, some costumes (and weapons) don’t seem to match what we know going into ‘Infinity War’, which could mean that the Russo Brothers have plenty of surprises up their sleeves.

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The Avengers Trilogy Teaser Posters

Spider-Man: Homecoming

Year: 2017
Director: Jon Watts
Starring: Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Robert Downey Jr., Marisa Tomei, Jon Favreau, Zendaya

Written by Tom Sheffield

To say there were high expectations for this film from it’s waiting audience would be a understatement. For the third time in 15 years we were about to witness a new actor take on the role of Spider-Man, but this time would be different because he now exists in the same universe as Iron Man, Captain America, Thor and all the heroes we’ve seen so far in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which opens up a whole new world of possibilities that weren’t possible with the webhead’s previous live-action incarnations. Having already been introduced to Tom Holland’s Peter Parker briefly in ‘Captain America: Civil War’, I was eager to see how he would hold his own in his first film. I’m relieved to say he did not disappoint, and neither did the film as a whole.  

Following his participation in the epic airport battle against Captain America and his team, Peter Parker (Holland) returns home feeling that his day-to-day heroics helping average citizens is a huge step down from what he just took part in. Eager to participate in more Avengers missions, Peter wants to impress Stark (Downey Jr.) and show him he’d be a valuable member of the team. When Peter starts interfering in Adrian Toomes’ (Keaton) plans, Toomes sees no other option than to put an end to the Spider-Man.

Tom Holland may just be my favourite portrayal of Peter Parker/Spider-Man to date. He completely embodied Peter’s awkwardness, his eagerness to do more to help people, and his struggle to please everyone. Both in and out of the suit, Holland is a joy to watch on screen and I’m excited for what’s to come for Peter following certain revelations in the film, and the fact we get to watch him progress through High School, juggling school, a social life, and his evening heroics. Michael Keaton was menacingly brilliant as Toomes / Vulture. There’s one scene in particular where he is face to face with Holland and his delivery is enough to send shivers down your spine. Vulture has quickly become one of my favourite villains in the Marvel Cinematic Universe because whilst a lot of villains we’ve met so far see themselves as Gods or are willing to cause havoc and mayhem to gain power, Toomes is just a guy who thinks he’s doing the right thing to provide for his family. It’s this protective behaviour that spurs him on to don his Vulture wings and do what he deems necessary.

Despite appearing heavily in the trailers and posters, Iron Man’s involvement in the film isn’t as big as many had feared, with people often dubbing it ‘Iron Man 4’ due to how much he was in the trailers. Stark’s protectiveness over Peter and his heroics provides one of the best exchanges of dialogue between two heroes in the MCU, which I won’t spoil here, but if you’ve seen the film you’ll know what I mean. It truly shows how much Tony has changed from his arrogant, selfish, playboy ways when we first met him in ‘Iron Man’  and how what he’s experienced since then has changed him.

Michael Giacchino’s opening score had me excited from the get go. Incorporating the classic Spider-Man theme tune was always going to be a winner in my eyes, and after hearing it in the little teaser video he released on Twitter, I couldn’t wait to hear it blasting from the cinema speakers. What a treat that was! Sadly, Giacchino’s score throughout the rest of the film is pretty forgettable, which regrettably seems to be a recurring thing in Marvel movies.

Overall, ‘Homecoming’ is one of the strongest first entries in the MCU and I feel that Marvel/Sony taking the risk and not making it an origin story was definitely a huge factor. With this being the third reboot in the last 15 years, the audience for this film know how Peter gets his powers, they know his parents history and Uncle Ben’s fate. Skipping all that allowed them to focus on Peter’s struggle as a kid to balance school, friends, and keeping this huge secret from those closest to him. 

Tom’s rating: 8.7 out of 10

New ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ Trailer Shows Off Spidey’s Suit

Two brand new ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ trailers hit the web this morning, with the international trailer offering a better look at Michael Keaton’s Vulture, and the domestic showing off Spidey’s new suit, courtesy of Tony Stark.  

After the last trailer left some fans feeling it had showed a little too much of the film, it’s likely some may avoid these final trailers and wait until the films release on July 5th. 

We also have two brand new posters! You can find HQ versions of them both over on our Twitter – @JumpCut_Tweets

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“A young Peter Parker/Spider-Man, who made his sensational debut in Captain America: Civil War, begins to navigate his newfound identity as the web-slinging super hero in Spider-Man: Homecoming. Thrilled by his experience with the Avengers, Peter returns home, where he lives with his Aunt May, under the watchful eye of his new mentor Tony Stark. Peter tries to fall back into his normal daily routine – distracted by thoughts of proving himself to be more than just your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man – but when the Vulture emerges as a new villain, everything that Peter holds most important will be threatened.”