Brand New ‘Godzilla II: The King Of Monsters’ Stomps Its Way Online

Following the global success of “Godzilla” and “Kong: Skull Island” comes the next chapter in Warner Bros. Pictures’ and Legendary Pictures’ cinematic MonsterVerse, an epic action adventure that pits Godzilla against some of the most popular monsters in pop culture history. The new story follows the heroic efforts of the crypto-zoological agency Monarch as its members face off against a battery of god-sized monsters, including the mighty Godzilla, who collides with Mothra, Rodan, and his ultimate nemesis, the three-headed King Ghidorah. When these ancient super-species—thought to be mere myths—rise again, they all vie for supremacy, leaving humanity’s very existence hanging in the balance.

Directed by: Michael Dougherty

Cast: Bradley Whitford, Millie Bobby Brown, Vera Farmiga, Sally Hawkins, Kyle Chandler, O’Shea Jackson Jr.

Release Date: May 31st, 2019

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REVIEW: First Man

Year: 2018
Directed by: Damien Chazelle
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Claire Foy, Corey Stoll, Jason Clarke, Kyle Chandler

Written by Rhys Bowen-Jones

You’d think the moon landing would have a bigger filmography. By my count, there are 25 films about the general Apollo program, two of which are Men In Black 3 and Transformers: Dark of the Moon. Given such an astonishing feat, it was about time it received a proper cinematic treatment, and Damien Chazelle (of Whiplash and La La Land fame) is on hand to deliver just that.

And my word, does he deliver.

I’m not sure how much I need to say about the film. First Man is about the moon landing. It’s about NASA, rocket scientists, Neil Armstrong’s family, and Neil Armstrong himself as they attempt to finally get one over on the Russians in the infamous space race of the 1960s. First Man does do a splendid job of filling in many of the gaps in my knowledge of the story, and it does so on the shoulders of two tremendous leading performances from Ryan Gosling and Claire Foy.

First Man is a step out of Chazelle’s comfort zone. Having given us back to back show-stoppers in music-centric and impressively stylish efforts, he reigns back the sweep pans and on-the-beat camera cuts in favour of something far more paranoid. This becomes immediately apparent in its stunning opening scene with the introduction to how the film uses its shaky camera. Shaky camera has its criticisms when used poorly (badly choreographed fight scenes, I’m looking at you), but Chazelle uses it so perfectly here. It manages to absolutely convince you that Ryan Gosling has literally been sent to space in a tin can. Armstrong endures multiple trips to at least the Earth’s atmosphere, and the way they’re shot from almost entirely within or attached to the space craft made me feel, as cliché as it sounds, like I was right in there with him and that this might completely fail at any second.

Chazelle wants to express a combination of total wonder of what’s possible with a sense of complete isolation as the key players of the film rocket towards a seemingly impending doom. Shots of Armstrong sitting alone at the dinner table surrounded by darkness, or shots of Claire Foy’s Janet Shearon (Armstrong’s wife) standing alone in a doorway, again surrounded by darkness, imply so much of their relationship; their personal dilemmas, their frustrations with one another, their annoyance at their reluctant thrust into fame, all the while dealing with 2 blissfully unaware young children whose only preoccupation is whether they can play outside.

The necessary confrontation between Janet and Neil is shot with the same quiet intensity as a space trip, with Neil facing a reality he didn’t want to; having to tell his young children he might not come home. This is sure to be one of the many highlights Gosling and Foy send off for their almost guaranteed award nominations. Some may think Gosling is just being Gosling, the quiet, stoic leading role who doesn’t say all that much and stays focused on the job, but when your mission is the most dangerous mission in human history that may be your end, you could forgive his stoicism. Foy leaves a particularly strong impression as the wife left at home with the kids, as she stands up to the NASA scientists who, in one instance, cut the connection to her radio linked to Mission Control. As an aside, Claire Foy now has back to back stunning performances after Unsane earlier in the year, and I can’t wait to see her portrayal of Lisbeth Salander in The Girl in the Spider’s Web.

What I feel is important to address is that First Man isn’t the space adventure some may expect. It spends the majority of the film firmly on Earth, getting to know its key characters and showing us the blood, sweat, and tears that went into getting onto the moon. Having said that, when it does go to space, it goes. The fuck. To space.

The space scenes are spectacular. From its first flight to the Apollo 11 mission we all came to see, it begins being shot with surprising restraint. I kept wishing for the camera to just pull back slightly and give us a wide shot, I found out the long way that the restraint is worth it for what’s to come. The moon landing sequence is a stunner. It’s a knock your socks off, awe-inspiring, blow your face clean off its hinges sequence. Much of the film has a very old-school, grainy look to it to give it a 1960s authenticity, but the switch to IMAX for this sequence is put to fabulous use. The gargantuan size of the actual moment of a human being setting foot on the moon is given the wonder treatment with one of the film’s rare flashy moments in which the camera swoops down the shuttle’s steps and just stops dead in its tracks, almost in shock, to appreciate the horizon. The vastness of the moon laid out in front of our very eyes. It’s jaw-dropping. The time Chazelle and co. spent building up to this very moment is all completely worth it. This was a moment felt by the entire cinema, as the music cuts out completely, it was just us, Neil Armstrong, and the moon. You could’ve heard a pin drop. Dozens of pairs of eyes locked on the screen, transfixed by something so spectacular that I can’t say I’ve experienced a moment like it in film in a long time. Of all this film’s impressive elements, this sequence is the crowning achievement and it deserves all the praise it receives.

There is so much more that could be praised. Justin Hurwitz’s score has an almost ethereal feel at times, balletic at others, and completely epic when it needs to be. The music rarely swells to the overwhelming levels of, say, Hans Zimmer’s glorious work on Interstellar. Like the rest of the film, it holds itself back until it needs to, and when it hits the moment it needs to, it completely overwhelms you with its sheer power and beauty.

On a similar note, the sound design is sure to be one of its many award recipients come February. During the major space sequences, the aforementioned Gosling-in-a-tin-can stuff, the clanging and the clattering and the spinning and the exploding and the ringing all bring you to near breaking point. When you feel the sound has reached its highest point, it somehow finds another level, and then another, and then another to bring me to gasping-for-breath levels of anxious.

First Man is stunning. It’s an astounding achievement for a young director on the winning streak of his life; it has two award-worthy leading performances; it’s gorgeous to look at; it’s amazing to listen to; and it’s an utterly overwhelming experience. See it on the biggest, loudest screen you can. Chazelle, you’ve done it again.

 

Rhys’ Verdict:

5

New Trailer For Damien Chazelle’s ‘First Man’ Lands As The Film Premieres At Venice Film Festival

“On the heels of their six-time Academy Award®-winning smash, ‘La La Land’, Oscar®-winning director Damien Chazelle and star Ryan Gosling reteam for Universal Pictures’ ‘First Man’, the riveting story of NASA’s mission to land a man on the moon, focusing on Neil Armstrong and the years 1961-1969.  A visceral, first-person account, based on the book by James R. Hansen, the movie will explore the sacrifices and the cost—on Armstrong and on the nation—of one of the most dangerous missions in history.”

Directed by: Damien Chazelle

Cast: Ryan Gosling, Claire Foy, Jason Clarke, Kyle Chandler, Patrick Fugit, Ciaran Hinds, Ethan Embry, Shea Whigham, Corey Stoll, Pablo Schreiber

Release Date: October 12th, 2018

Ryan Gosling Embarks On An Impossible Journey In The First Trailer For ‘First Man’

“On the heels of their six-time Academy Award®-winning smash, ‘La La Land’, Oscar®-winning director Damien Chazelle and star Ryan Gosling reteam for Universal Pictures’ ‘First Man’, the riveting story of NASA’s mission to land a man on the moon, focusing on Neil Armstrong and the years 1961-1969.  A visceral, first-person account, based on the book by James R. Hansen, the movie will explore the sacrifices and the cost—on Armstrong and on the nation—of one of the most dangerous missions in history.”

Directed by: Damien Chazelle

Cast: Ryan Gosling, Claire Foy, Jason Clarke, Kyle Chandler, Patrick Fugit, Ciaran Hinds, Ethan Embry, Shea Whigham, Corey Stoll, Pablo Schreiber

Release Date: October 12th, 2018

Game Night

Year: 2018
Directed by: John Francis Daley, Jonathan Goldstein
Cast: Jason Bateman, Rachel McAdams, Kyle Chandler, Sharon Horgan, Billy Magnussen, Lamorne Morris, Kylie Bunbury, Jesse Plemons

Written by Tom Sheffield

With a very promising first trailer which boasted a fantastic cast and a genuinely funny and intriguing plot – I had my fingers crossed that this would be a comedy that would actually make me laugh and not be another waste time with predictable and repetitive non-sense similar to what we’ve been offered up over the past few years from studios. I’m happy to report that this isn’t the case at all, and what we’ve been given here is not only hilarious, unpredictable, and actually enjoyable – it’s also so stylishly shot for a film of this genre that it really does stand out from the crowd.

Max (Bateman) and Annie (McAdams) meet during a quiz night, where it’s clear they are both as competitive as each other. The pair fall head over heels for each other and are soon married. The couple host a game night every week for their friends, Ryan (Morris) and his wife Michelle (Bunbury), and Ryan (Magnussen) who brings a new girl every week. Max’s successful brother, Brooks (Chandler), turns up and quickly riles up Max and Annie as he boasts his ‘perfect’ life and shows up Max in front of his friends. Brooks offers to host game night the following week, in which he promises a night they won’t forget.  When the night arrives, Brooks reveals he’s booked a company to fake kidnap a member of the party, leaving the rest of them to hunt down their kidnapped friend through a series of clues – However, things don’t go to plan and Brooks is kidnapped by thugs as his brother and his friends sit and watch. It doesn’t take them long to realise that something isn’t quite right, and then the hunt begins!

The assembled cast are a fantastic choices for their characters, each providing a different style of humour but all successfully drawing laughs from the audience. Bateman is no stranger to the kind of character Max is, but he plays him to his strengths and with McAdams at his side (but by no means a sidekick), the pair are hilarious and have such electric chemistry. McAdams is a delight to watch as always, playing off her on-screen husband’s remarks and delivering some of the funniest lines of the film. Lamorne Morris and Kylie Bunbry play  happily married couple, Ryan and Michelle, who were high school sweethearts. The pair are great together on-screen, but they really deliver the laughs when Ryan accidentally discovers during a drinking game that Michelle has slept with a celebrity.

Billy Magnussen plays the dim but loveable Ryan who, unlike his closest friends, is single and brings a new girl every week to game night. We see some of these girls in a very quick montage after Max and Annie make a comment about how they’re all basically the same girl – self-obsessed model wannabes with very short attention spans. Determined to win a game night, Ryan invites his British (and therefore he presumes clever) co-worker Sarah (Horgan) to Brooks’ night. It was quite refreshing for a non-couple duo to have some screen-time, as their behavior, attitude, and motive to win the game differ from Ryan’s shacked-up friends.

Jesse Plemons is an absolute scene stealer as Max and Annie’s  neighbour, Gary the Police Officer, who they actively try to avoid so they don’t have to invite him to their game nights. That’s all I’ll say about Gary as it’s best to witness his character for yourself. Chelsea Peretti makes an almost unrecognisable brief appearance and is only in it the film for one short scene, which is a real shame because Peretti is such a wonderful comedian and actress and would have really made a great addition to the circle of friends. If I could change one thing about this film, it would be to have given her a bigger role!

As the couples head out investigating the ‘fake’ kidnapping in their pairs, we as the audience are kept in the loop with what’s really going on as each pair discovers that the situation they have found themselves in is very real, and the stakes at play are also very real. Even though we’re in the loop, there’s still some twists and turns in the plot that I did NOT see coming – and I loved them.

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I can’t write a review for this film and not mention the absolutely brilliant cinematography by Barry Peterson and the camera work at play. For a comedy, it’s not usual for the standout feature I take away from it being the camera work. I knew we were in for a treat as soon as the film started and the studio logos began to fall down the screen looking like game pieces, alongside lots of other game pieces from well known board games (including Monopoly, Trivial Pursuit, and Battleship pieces) slowly falling down. One shot that has stuck in my mind since I saw it is an aerial view of the cul-de-sac Max and Annie live on, which made it look like we were looking down on a game board – anything off the street was out of focus and the houses on the street genuinely looked like small pieces on a board until the camera slowly swoops down to street level.

There’s also a fantastic one shot that takes place in a mansion, with the 6 friends frantically trying to escape being caught by security whilst attempting to keep an artefact in one piece. The friends hurling this artefact round the mansion to one another like a rugby ball and I found myself not wanting to blink in case I missed something! The camera work during some of the scenes involving driving were also really well shot, with one angle in particular feeling like something from a racing game like ‘Forza’ and even a similar feel to cruising around on ‘Grand Theft Auto’ with the camera fixed on the car from the back. The crew really went the extra mile for this film and it really does help this comedy stand-out from the often bland and uninspiring films in the genre.

‘Game Night’ not only delivered the laughs, but it also does it with such style and flair that I really wasn’t expecting from a comedy such as this. The cast are all on form, the plot keeps the audiences interest as well as throwing in a few twists and turns to keep us on our toes. A comedy as good as this is best seen with a big audience to laugh along with, so I highly recommend a trip to the cinema when it’s released!

John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein are reportedly Warner Bros’ choice to direct the upcoming ‘Flashpoint’ film, and if that is the case you can count me in. The film featured a lot of elements that a Flash solo film requires, and despite my earlier reservations about them working on it, I think they could actually do justice to my all-time favourite comic book hero.

Tom’s Rating: 8.5/10

Godzilla Sequel Begins Filming And New Plot Details Revealed

Following the success of the 2014 reboot, filming is underway on the ‘Godzilla’ sequel, which is currently going by the name of ‘Godzilla: King of Monsters’.

The brand new synopsis released is as follows:

“The new story follows the heroic efforts of the crypto-zoological agency Monarch as its members face off against a battery of god-sized monsters, including the mighty Godzilla, who collides with Mothra, Rodan, and his ultimate nemesis, the three-headed King Ghidorah.  When these ancient super-species—thought to be mere myths—rise again, they all vie for supremacy, leaving humanity’s very existence hanging in the balance.”

It sounds like Godzilla is going to have a number of sparring partners in this film before he goes toe-to-toe with Kong in the upcoming film ‘Godzilla vs. Kong’.

Michael Dougherty (Krampus) is in the director’s chair for this monster outing, and Jordan Vogt-Roberts (Kong: Skull Island) and Gareth Edwards (Godzilla), celebrated the starting of filming by going for a little swim around Skull Island.  

Starring in this film alongside the big man hilsef are Millie Bobby Brown (Stranger Things), Sally Hawkins (Godzilla), Kyle Chandler (Manchester by the Sea), and Ken Watanabe (Godzilla),