COMPETITION: ‘Kin’ / Mogwai Merch Bundle

Thanks to our friends at Lionsgate UK, our latest competition is for a Kin / Mogwai Merch Bundle which includes:

  • Kin DVD
  • Kin Soundtrack CD by Mogwai
  • Signed Mogwai 12×12 alternative Kin LP artwork print

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To enter, simply be sure you’re following us on Twitter and retweet the below tweet:

14-year-old Eli (Myles Truitt) lives in Detroit with his father Hal (Dennis Quaid). On the eve of his estranged brother Jimmy’s (Jack Reynor) return from prison, Eli breaks into an abandoned building site, where he stumbles upon the aftermath of an intense shoot out and a mysterious otherworldly weapon hidden amongst the rubble…

Back at home, Jimmy’s arrival causes trouble for the family as he struggles to pay back local gangster Taylor (James Franco), the man who kept him alive inside. After a disastrous attempt to secure money ends in tragedy, Jimmy hits the road with Eli in tow. Chased by a criminal gang bent on revenge, it turns out that Eli’s weapon brings a much more dangerous set of pursuers, who may not be from this world. With an all-star cast and a stunning soundtrack from Mogwai, Kin blends sci-fi and action in a slick, stylish thriller about family, loss and corruption.

Starring Jack Reynor (Free Fire), Zoë Kravitz (Mad Max: Fury Road), Carrie Coon (Avengers: Infinity War), with Dennis Quaid (The Day After Tomorrow), and James Franco (127 Hours), and introducing newcomer Myles Truitt.

Directed by Jonathan & Josh Baker and based on their award-winning short film ‘BAG MAN’. Produced by Shawn Levy & Dan Cohen (Stranger Things), and Michael B. Jordan (Black Panther).

Kin: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack by Mogwai.

Available now on Digital with DVD & Blu-ray 26 December

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REVIEW: Creed II (2018)

Directed by: Steven Caple Jr.
Cast: Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Tessa Thompson, Dolph Lundgren, Florian Munteanu

Written by Cameron Frew

“If he dies, he dies,” said Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren) in Rocky IV, arguably the finest entry in the series outside the all-time classic original. It was a film that captured the essence of its time; the ultra-machismo, the air-punching music, a self-aware corniness, post-Cold War observations. But Creed II, the follow-up to 2015’s acclaimed spin-off, is a much different beast from its ancestor.

After Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan) becomes world champion, Drago, the man who killed Creed’s father, and his brutish son, Viktor (Florian Munteanu) challenge him to a fight. Against Rocky’s (Sylvester Stallone) better judgement, Creed takes the bout, sparking repercussions that will affect his life at home with Bianca (Tessa Thompson).

Lundgren’s mournful icon opens the picture, from the frosty-blue filtered snowscape of Kiev, awakening his boy for what we can only assume a long, hard day of montage-worthy training. It’s not long before we see the terrifyingly hulkish Viktor, deftly handled by Munteanu, in action in the ring. One thing is established fast; Viktor shares one huge trait with his dad – a lack of compassion.

Director Steven Caple Jr, taking the gloves from Ryan Coogler, plays a tension-raising little game – we’re reacquainted with Creed and co fairly quickly (in a sneakily modest one-take). Rocky says to him: “Are you here to prove something to other people, or prove something to yourself?” The triumphant spirit that helped give the first film a surprising strength is back, but Caple Jr is keen to remind you that there’s definitely a storm coming, and there’s only so far a good man can go against someone “who was raised in hate”.

Stallone earned himself an Oscar-nom for the (formerly) titular role, and here he’s on similarly excellent form. There’s a really interesting narrative in play between him and Drago throughout; the latter broke things in Rocky “that ain’t ever been fixed”, but he also lost everything and was exiled by his wife – and country – following his homeland defeat. Lundgren is fantastic here, bringing a cautious vulnerability and real, hard vindictive streak in a fractured, immensely satisfying performance that makes these two titans meeting again feel more than an exercise in cheap memories.

The moral conflict is meaty; Rocky is against Creed fighting Viktor because of the past, because of how dangerous he knows Drago’s son is and, obviously, because he can’t face watching the son of the man whose life ended at the hands of his Russian foe, also die. But Rocky fought Drago out of guilt, so if Creed wants to fight his son after Drago has the brass neck to challenge him, can he be blamed? It’s a tale as old as time – testosterone firing on all cylinders. Thankfully, writers Sascha Pem, Juel Taylor and also Stallone keep the story rooted in harsh reality; Creed II is more of a story about finding oneself in the shadow of our parents, and the need to let the past go to become who you really want to be. That, and some tellingly obvious comments on toxic masculinity, takes this a little further than more surface-level genre efforts.

Thompson and Jordan are a fabulous duo that endures a heart-wrenching plight – the writing in this regard excels at not romanticizing their lives (aside from the dreamy L.A flat they acquire just like *finger snap*).  With the exception of a small number of truly moving moments, their narrative is filled with foregone conclusions. In fact, the film itself is excessively formulaic, almost going exactly the way any relatively clued-up moviegoer would predict.

But that’s the thing; Creed II only works if you’ve got skin in the game, if you have more than a floating investment. You need to care and believe in the stakes and the people. If you don’t, the clichés will hit harder, but if you do, there’s much to be enjoyed here as both a series veteran and newbie.

The fight scenes are intense and muscular, shot with a firm hand and never, as the trap less adept efforts fall into, disorientating to enjoy. However, the choreography is miles behind decades-earlier movies; not just Rocky, but also Raging Bull, or even Warrior in 2011. There’s a certain lack of distance afforded to the viewer, always cinematically in amongst it instead of taking a step back. In a boxing picture, that would seem like a detrimental flaw – but Caple Jr is slick enough to carry it off.

Returning to compose is Ludwig Göransson, who separates this work even further from its family tree, weaving the soundtrack with a hip, modernized flare that rarely taps into that classic theme (oh boy when it does, though), exhibiting a rare confidence in the culture of sequels. The music makes for a thrilling accompaniment to Kramer Morgenthau’s raw, evocative cinematography; a natural at both establishing the emotional range of an intimate environment and accenting a brilliant montage. A little more recognition of its roots would have carried it that extra stretch (don’t wait on Drago saying that famous line), but this is a cool, unruffled entry in a franchise that would be welcomed back again.

Gripping and poignant, Creed II marks the humble passing of the mantle. Just need Mr. T’s son for next time.

 

Cameron’s Verdict:

4

Brand New ‘Creed II’ Trailer Teases The Creed v Drago Showdown

“Life has become a balancing act for Adonis Creed. Between personal obligations and training for his next big fight, he is up against the challenge of his life. Facing an opponent with ties to his family’s past only intensifies his impending battle in the ring. Rocky Balboa is there by his side through it all and, together, Rocky and Adonis will confront their shared legacy, question what’s worth fighting for, and discover that nothing’s more important than family. Creed II is about going back to basics to rediscover what made you a champion in the first place, and remembering that, no matter where you go, you can’t escape your history.”

Directed by: Steven Caple Jr.

Cast: Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Tessa Thompson, Phylicia Rashad, Wood Harris, Andre Ward, Florian “The Big Nasty” Munteanu, Dolph Lundgren, Russell Hornsby

Release Date: November 30th, 2018

Michael B. Jordan Steps Back Into The Ring As Adonis Creed In The First Trailer For ‘Creed II’

“Life has become a balancing act for Adonis Creed. Between personal obligations and training for his next big fight, he is up against the challenge of his life. Facing an opponent with ties to his family’s past only intensifies his impending battle in the ring. Rocky Balboa is there by his side through it all and, together, Rocky and Adonis will confront their shared legacy, question what’s worth fighting for, and discover that nothing’s more important than family. Creed II is about going back to basics to rediscover what made you a champion in the first place, and remembering that, no matter where you go, you can’t escape your history.”

Directed by: Steven Caple Jr.

Cast: Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Tessa Thompson, Phylicia Rashad, Wood Harris, Andre Ward, Florian “The Big Nasty” Munteanu, Dolph Lundgren, Russell Hornsby

Release Date: November 30th, 2018

 

Black Panther

Year: 2018
Directed by: Ryan Coogler
Starring: Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Andy Serkis,
Martin Freeman

WRITTEN BY ANDREW GARRISON

While this is far from the first black superhero movie, it is still very important. Diversity is a gift, allowing us to see new stories and points of view we may have not yet considered. It opens our world to new exciting possibilities. Marvel Studios has grown increasingly diverse over the past decade, but this is the first time a primary non-white protagonist emerges. I was excited about this movie even before ‘Captain America: Civil War’ arrived. I thought Black Panther was a character the Marvel universe needed. Coming into this movie with high hopes, it did not disappoint.

‘Black Panther’ follows the return of T’Challa (Boseman) to his home, Wakanda, after the events of ‘Captain America: Civil War’. He is to be crowned king but must face the mistakes and adversaries of the past and attempt to guide his people toward the right future. This film has the most talented cast that Marvel has used to date. Chadwick Boseman plays the Black Panther very well. He dives into the character and never lets up. The main antagonist is Erik Killmonger played by Michael B. Jordan who delivers a stirring performance. Lupita Nyong’o is incredibly cool throughout this film, she nearly steals the movie from Boseman, which is an impressive feat all its own. You know you are watching something special when the secondary characters feature the likes of; Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, Daniel Kaluuya, Andy Serkis, and Martin Freeman. Everyone did wonderful work in their roles.

This film may be fantasy, but it is loaded with profound concepts for the world we live in. Things that needed to be said and heard by the masses were exposed. This movie highlights some ugly truths about our own world. Things we need to accept as issues and then get to work finding resolutions. Granted it is early, but the cinematography, set designs, costumes, and makeup are flawless throughout this film and I hope will receive some award nominations in the future. You don’t just learn about Black Panther and his close circle, you learn about the spiritual, political, and social culture of Wakanda in stunning detail. This is a very fleshed out world, better than anything Marvel has done to date in this regard.

The music throughout this film is aesthetically pleasing, perfectly sewn into the film at the right moments. Combine that with excellent sound and CGI, and you have a film that is well-made all around. There are humor and action throughout, but the humor is tamed. It knows when it can be funny and when it needs to be serious. (Think ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ and not ‘Thor: The Dark World’.) The film mixes in periods of drama and character development with intense actions scenes. Marvel has gotten a bit more brutal in recent years. The violence was still very much PG- 13, but it was very much fitting of that rating. When the action goes down, it is some of the most impressive I’ve seen from any superhero film to date.

While I enjoyed ‘Black Panther’, it does have a few issues. Anyone familiar with these Marvel movies over the past decade knows they have some flaws. Without spoiling anything, this movie carries on a recurring Marvel issue regarding the fate of it’s villains. This by no means ruins the movie, but it is a fact that Marvel isn’t going unnoticed amongst fans.

While I tried to avoid a lot of news about this film, I was hearing a lot of hype for Killmonger as Marvel’s best villain. He has a compelling story, but there was so much of it glossed over. I wanted to know more about this character and he never fully developed as I hoped. There are a couple of decisions the movie makes that I didn’t like. I felt Marvel had built up something and then wasted a great opportunity. While not often, sometimes the camerawork would be erratic and hard to follow. ‘Black Panther’ wasn’t just a Marvel superhero movie, it was a rattling of the cages type film. It spoke a lot of truth that we often sweep under the rug about the world we live in. It raises awareness and then offers the global society an olive branch. ‘Black Panther’ is well-crafted in every sense of the word. Director Ryan Coogler continues to astound, and this may be the most beautiful Marvel movie made yet.

ANDREW’S RATING: 8.8/10

Killmonger Takes On T’Challa In Brand New ‘Black Panther’ Trailer

“T’Challa, after the death of his father, the King of Wakanda, returns home to the isolated, technologically advanced African nation to succeed to the throne and take his rightful place as king.”

Directed by: Ryan Coogler
Cast: Chadwick Boseman, Andy Serkis, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Forest Whitaker, Daniel Kaluuya, Angela Bassett, Martin Freeman, Sterling K. Brown
Release Date: 16th February 2018

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Welcome to Wakanda – The First Teaser Trailer For Black Panther Has Arrived!

Since his introduction in ‘Captain America: Civil War’, fans of the MCU have been on tenterhooks waiting for a glimpse of T’Challa’s solo film. Then yesterday, out of the blue, the first poster hit the web along with an announcement that a teaser trailer would follow a few hours later.

Whilst the poster received it’s fair share of criticism over on Twitter, the teaser trailer seems to have received an overall positive reception. And rightly so..

Joining Chadwick Boseman in Wakanda are Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, Winston Duke, and Sterling K. Brown. Ryan Coogler (Creed, Fruitvale Station) is in the director’s chair, which I couldn’t be more excited about!

Andy Serkis is reprising his role as Ulysses Klaw, who we met in ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ when he sold vibranium to Ultron, who then proceeded to slice off his arm in a fit of rage. Martin Freeman also returns as CIA Operative, Everett Ross, who had a run in with the Avengers and Black Panther during ‘Civil War’ when the CIA captured Bucky Barnes. 

This first teaser does a superb job of being a tease of what to expect from this film and I can’t wait to see more! 

Synopsis:

“Marvel Studios’ “Black Panther” follows T’Challa who, after the death of his father, the King of Wakanda, returns home to the isolated, technologically advanced African nation to succeed to the throne and take his rightful place as king.

“But when a powerful old enemy reappears, T’Challa’s mettle as king—and Black Panther—is tested when he is drawn into a formidable conflict that puts the fate of Wakanda and the entire world at risk. Faced with treachery and danger, the young king must rally his allies and release the full power of Black Panther to defeat his foes and secure the safety of his people and their way of life.”

‘Black Panther’ is currently scheduled to hit UK cinemas on 16th February 2018

Updated Synopsis For ‘Black Panther’ and First For ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ Released

Black Panther was introduced in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) last year in ‘Captain America: Civil War’, and what an introduction it was! We were introduced to T’Challa, who briefly explained the mantle of Black Panther and what it meant to the people of Wakanda. ‘Black Panther’ wrapped filming last month and is set to release on the 9th February 2018. With two more MCU films left to release this year in the form of ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ and ‘Thor: Ragnarok’, it is probably a safe bet to assume that one of these will have an end credit stinger linked to ‘Black Panther’ is some way.

The newly updated synopsis goes as follows:

“After the events of Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War, King T’Challa returns home to the reclusive, technologically advanced African nation of Wakanda to serve as his country’s new leader. However, T’Challa soon finds that he is challenged for the throne from factions within his own country. When two foes conspire to destroy Wakanda, the hero known as Black Panther must team up with C.I.A. agent Everett K. Ross and members of the Dora Milaje, Wakanadan special forces, to prevent Wakanda from being dragged into a world war.”

‘Avengers: Infinity’ and the as-yet-untitled ‘Avengers 4’ will be what every film in the MCU has been leading up to, and we will finally see Thanos get up off his chair and wreak some havoc himself. We learned during it’s press junket that ‘Guardian of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ ends 4 years before the start of ‘Infinity War’, and with just ‘Homecoming’, ‘Ragnarok’, and ‘Black Panther’ the only films we’ll see before this huge event, we’ve got a lot of ground to cover! 

Avengers: Infinity War Synopsis:

“As the Avengers and their allies have continued to protect the world from threats too large for any one hero to handle, a new danger has emerged from the cosmic shadows: Thanos. A despot of intergalactic infamy, his goal is to collect all six Infinity Stones, artifacts of unimaginable power, and use them to inflict his twisted will on all of reality. Everything the Avengers have fought for has led up to this moment – the fate of Earth and existence itself has never been more uncertain.”

What are your thoughts on the films we have left to see before ‘Infinity War’? Which of the three are you most excited for?

Black Panther First Synopsis Released

Marvel have this afternoon given a press release confirming that filming has begun on ‘Black Panther’, and in their statement they’ve given us a litter teaser for the film in the form of the first official synopsis and confirming characters we will see in the film. 

The first synopsis reads:

“Black Panther follows T’Challa who, after the events of ‘Captain America: Civil War’, returns home to the isolated, technologically advanced African nation of Wakanda to take his place as King. However, when an old enemy reappears on the radar, T’Challa’s mettle as King and Black Panther is tested when he is drawn into a conflict that puts the entire fate of Wakanda and the world at risk.”

Both Martin Freeman and Andy Serkis have been confirmed to reprise their previous roles within the ‘Marvel Cinematic Universe’. Freeman will be returning as Everett K. Ross, who we first met last year in ‘Captain America: Civil War’ and Serkis will be back as Ulysses Klaue (Klaw), who,  when we last saw him on screen, lost an arm when came face to face with Ultron in ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’. John Kani is also confirmed to reprise his role as T’Chaka, T’Challa’s father, in what we can safely assume will be flashback scenes seeing as we witnessed T’Chaka’s death in ‘Civil War’. 

The film is being directed by ‘Creed’ director, Ryan Coogler, and will also star Chadwick Boseman, Lupita Nyong’o, Michael B. Jordan, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, and Sterling K. Brown. 

‘Black Panther’ is currently filming and has a release date of 9th February 2018 in the UK

Written by Tom Sheffield