The DCEU Movies Ranked

Written by Nick Staniforth

Braving the waters of the comic book universe once again this week, Warner Bros have supposedly turned back the tide and managed to deliver a superhero story that is getting unanimous praise for embracing its bonkers premise and surfing it to the shore of success. If you haven’t twigged yet, what with all the water puns, I am of course referring to Aquaman, the latest chapter of the DC universe starring Jason Momoa, Willem Dafoe, Patrick Wilson, Dolph Lundgren, Ludi Lin, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Temuera Morrison, Amber Heard, Nicole Kidman and Randall Park.

As of today, the man born of land and sea has made his way into cinemas, but following his release, where does the half-Atlantean sit among  Warner Bros. other highly debated efforts? Here be the rankin’ of the entire DCEU films so far that’ll no doubt cause some waves.


 

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Suicide Squad

It’s almost fitting that James Gunn has been tasked with a sequel to the film Warner Bros were keen to make their own Guardians of the Galaxy. Rough around the edges and filled with its own team of misfits, Suicide Squad had all the potential to be the outside contender that could straighten up the impending array of entries that were in the pipeline – instead, it almost ran the damn thing off the road.

A slung-together script, reshoots aiming to lighten the mood following the near-fatal feedback of Dawn of Justice (more on that later), and one of the shortest performances of The Joker ever caught on film, Suicide Squad was a slog of a viewing experience if it wasn’t for some key players that saved the day.

Margot Robbie and Will Smith as Harley Quinn and Deadshot reignite the chemistry they had in Focus, with the likes of Jay Hernandez’s El Diablo, Karen Fukuhara’s Katana and Jai Courtney as Captain Boomerang conjuring some compelling performances, but the outcome is still a visually murky slog that even with an impending sequel, is an instalment that rarely gets revisited.

 

 

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Justice League

Die-hard DC fans can hashtag the crap out of a campaign to release the Snyder Cut until the Parademons come home, but there’s no denying that the finished product of the Justice League was far from complete. The second that light touches the synthetic upper lip of Henry Cavill, things roll off to an uneven start for the film that should’ve been a team-up for the ages. Instead, we’re treated to a CGI-tastic tone tornado that was another close call for the end of the DCEU.

Snyder’s eyegasmic vision and Whedon’s wit colliding should’ve made for the perfect comic book film, but like Suicide Squad before it, Justice League ends up a drab and forgetful outing. There are glimmers of hope, with Jason Momoa’s Aquaman making his debut, Gal Gadot Gadoing what she’s great at, and that hair-raising moment Superman returns for real, but it’s just not enough.

That chase scene on Themyiscara still holds up but besides that, the rest of the film, for the most part, is a union of DC’s finest stuck together with PVA glue in front of an undeniably bland CGI backdrop. They should’ve entered a league of their own, but instead served as a grave injustice.

 

 

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Aquaman

A well-known horror director and a former horse lord are easily one of Warner Bros. bravest bargaining chips when it came to Aquaman and his solo film. Appearing as an undeniable redirection from the dark and sombre scope the DCEU has been focussed on for some time, Jason Mamoa’s standalone entry as the king beneath the ocean is one of the most refreshing instalments thus far, though not without its own issues.

Demonstrating that same flair he had with high-octane sequences in Fast & Furious 7, director James Wan gets his feet wet again in an at times visually impressive affair and tackles them to a degree, with Nicole Kidman as an ass-kicking Queen Atlanna being a standout moment. Sadly, these aren’t enough to wash over what is a fairly dull story that feels worn down. Plucking plot points from Thor, Black Panther and Wonder Woman, it avoids being a complete wipeout thanks to Momoa who is once again not giving a fork and having an absolute ball, which pushes the film along. Ultimately, it’s a good effort for DC to steady the ship but still not a patch on the best entry so far.

 

 

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Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

Tearing friendships apart as much as The Last Jedi, or when Ross and Rachel went on a break, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was the film we never thought we’d see, and ultimately the film fans will never, ever agree on. Considered to be the stuff of dreams and I Am Legend Easter eggs, the sought-after showdown between The Dark Knight and The Man of Steel is a battle on so many levels. For every hit it lands, there’s another counter swing that puts it on the backfoot, which is why its slap bang in the middle of this list.

Forming a bond in the opening act to the previous film amid the rubble and chaos left behind in Man of Steel, Snyder does a great job at building up the motivations for both fighters in this epic bout. Cavill once again slips into the super suit with ease as the still tortured Superman trying to find his place in the world, while Ben Affleck delivers one of the best iterations of Bruce Wayne and Batman ever captured on screen. Fearful of this stranger beyond the stars and being a figure worth dreading himself, it helps a great deal for when these two finally do go toe to toe. It’s the time spent getting to and following from the final fight that is the films biggest issue.

The Martha motive is still frustrating to even recall, as is Jesse Eisenberg’s weedy, tick-induced Lex Luthor. It’s a lengthy lost opportunity that we may never get back but thankfully gave the world Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, the films most undeniable redeeming factor. If your chest doesn’t swell the second she flies in on Hans Zimmer’s score, then you really need to seek medical attention.

 

 

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Man of Steel

Ah yes, back when it all looked so promising. Snyder’s debut venture into the world of DC’s greatest heroes may have had its issues, but Henry Cavill’s first turn as the man with the big red cape is undoubtedly one of the strongest of the bunch.  Retelling the origin story of the most iconic superheroes ever for the modern era is a tough task but even more so when that beloved tale is tweaked to significant levels.

It all works, for the most part, aided by a strong cast that solidifies this world, and provides realism in a way that even Marvel still hasn’t done. From Amy Adams’ sharp Lois Lane to Michael Shannon’s tyrannical iteration of General Zod, every box is checked for the players involved in this effort to get Superman soaring to new heights. Most notably are the parents that mould Clark into the hero he becomes. Russell Crowe and Kevin Costner bring varied but vital fatherly roles as Jor-El and Jonathan Kent, respectively, while Diane Lane as keeps her son grounded as widowed mother MARTHA (sorry, old habit).

There are flecks of kryptonite littered through the film of course, most notably in that films final building breaking scuffle between Cavill’s Superman and Shannon’s Zod. Turning the shining Metropolis into an abandoned car park by the film’s end may well have been Snyder’s plan, but he once again spends too much time on something that should’ve zipped by faster than a speeding bullet. Not a bad first try – if only they’d been this good, though.

 

 

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Wonder Woman

There was only one place for Gal Gadot’s solo gig as the Amazonian princess to go and that’s right at the very front. Putting aside all the convoluted, reconstructed world-building that has been tried and tested, Diana’s first adventure is the closest to perfect Warner Bros. has been. Patty Jenkin’s take on the most well-known female superhero is an absolute treat from beginning to end, distancing itself from all the other entries by decades and finally giving audiences a film they could all agree on as being an absolute belter.

A fish out of water tale with added oomph, braving the era of World War I to bring Diana’s story to life is a refreshing chapter in an uneven series of instalments. Already demonstrating she could wield the headgear and lasso in Dawn of Justice, Gal Gadot gets time to really fit into the role of Wonder Woman and make it her own. Strong, graceful and an undeniable presence of good, she elevates every frame she’s in and makes the walk through No Man’s Land as iconic as Christopher Reeve circling the earth.

Taking the lead behind an equally charismatic Chris Pine who is in awe of his co-star as much as we are, she’s a breath of fresh air in a world that up until then was lost in its own self-manufactured smog. So the familiar final act may suffer some crash, bang and CGI wallop, but it’s redeemed by Diana’s heartwrenching goodbye to Steve Trevor that conjures the more emotion than any of the films that came before it. It’s a wonder we even got this, far but thank the gods we did.

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The Odysseys 2017: 2017 Retrospective

As we begin to get things underway for our annual awards event, The Odysseys, we’ve created a little something to remind you of just some of the films to grace our cinema screens this year, and also a possible look at films you’ll likely see mentioned in this year’s awards show.

Please feel free to share, leave feedback, and enjoy our 2017 retrospective!

More details about The Odysseys, including public nominations and upload date, will be available soon… 

NBR Award Winners Announced

The annual National Board of Reviews awards were announced earlier this evening. Steven Spielberg’s  ‘The Post’ claimed the top prizes, including ‘Best Film’, ‘Best Actor’, and ‘Best Actress’. Greta Gerwig was awarded the ‘Best Director’ award for her directorial debut, ‘Lady Bird’.

Other NBR winners include Willem Dafoe for ‘Best Supporting Actor’ in Sean Baker’s ‘The Florida Project’, Jordan Peele won ‘Best Directorial Debut’ for ‘Get Out’, which also won ‘Best Ensemble’. ‘Coco’ took home the prize for ‘Best Animated Feature’ and Timothée Chalamet wins yet another ‘Breakthrough Performance’ award for his role in ‘Call Me By Your Name’

Full list of winners:

Best Film: The Post
Best Director: Greta Gerwig – (Lady Bird)
Best Actor: Tom Hanks (The Post)
Best Actress: Meryl Streep (The Post)
Best Supporting Actor: Willem Dafoe (The Florida Project)
Best Foreign Language Film: Foxtrot
Best Animated Feature: Coco
Best Documentary: Jane
Best Original Screenplay: Paul Thomas Anderson (Phantom Thread)
Best Adapted Screenplay: Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber (The Disaster Artist)
Best Directorial Debut: Jordan Peele (Get Out)
Best Ensemble: Get Out
Breakthrough Performance: Timothée Chalamet (Call Me By Your Name)
Spotlight Award: Patty Jenkins & Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman)
NBR Freedom of Expression: First They Killed My Father

Top Films: Baby Driver, Call Me By Your Name, The Disaster Artist,  Downsizing,  Dunkirk,  The Florida Project,  Get Out,  Lady Bird,  Logan,  Phantom Thread

Top 10 Independent Films: Beatriz at Dinner,  Brigsby Bear,  A Ghost Story,  Lady Macbeth,  Logan Lucky,  Loving Vincent,  Menashe  Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer,  Patti Cake$,  Wind River

Top 5 Foreign Language Films: A Fantastic Woman,  Frantz,  Loveless,  Summer 1993,  The Square

Top 5 Documentaries: Abacus: Small Enough to Jail , Brimstone & Glory,  Eric Clapton: Life in 12 Bars,  Faces Places,  Hell On Earth: The Fall of Syria and the Rise of ISIS

Justice League

Year: 2017
Directed by: Zack Snyder
Cast: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Gal Gadot, Jason Momoa, Ezra Miller, Ray Fisher, Ciarán Hinds, Amy Adams, J.K. Simmons, Diane Lane

Written by Tom Sheffield

Having thankfully managed to avoid spoilers, major plot points, and reading the opinions of film critics, I walked into the cinema at midnight last night full of hope and excitement – and I left completely blown away by what I just witnessed. I think even the DCEU sceptics reading this will be find themselves pleasantly surprised with ‘Justice League’ and the direction it takes.  I will avoid writing any spoilers in this review as I strongly feel that it would really dampen your viewing experience if you knew what to expect!

Following the death of Superman, Bruce Wayne and Diana Prince attempt to assemble a team to be humanity’s defence against a new threat to Earth. The pair recruit rookie speedster Barry Allen (The Flash), half-human half-Atlantean Arthur Curry (Aquaman), and Victor Stone (Cyborg), who was recently brought back to life through the power of a Motherbox. The team must come together to stop Steppenwolf and his terrifying Parademons gaining the Motherboxes.

Affleck, Gadot, Momoa, Miller, and Fisher are a delight to watch on screen together. Whilst their characters don’t always see eye to eye, it’s clear to see the cast had a blast working together. Each has their moment to shine, and boy do they deliver! Miller was a standout for me, but I may be a little bias with Flash being my all-time favourite superhero. Miller was the perfect choice for Barry and his humour and charisma were spot on. The cast as a whole were brilliant in their respective roles, so I tip my hat to Snyder and the folks in casting for their choices!

Ciarán Hinds lends a menacing voice to Steppenwolf, and whilst his performance is respectable, the poor CGI is quite attention drawing and sadly weakens his stature as a villain. Steppenwolf shines when he comes face to face with the League – but I couldn’t help but feel we didn’t get to see enough of him. Hopefully this is something that can be resolved in the inevitable extended cut.  Witnessing Henry Cavill back in action as Superman was a beautiful sight to behold – and whilst my review will remain spoiler-free, it’s easy to spot which scenes were part of Whedon’s reshoots as the FX team attempt to CGI-out Cavill’s moustache he grew for ‘Mission Impossible 6’.

Unfortunately, during the filming of ‘Justice League’ Zack Snyder had to step away from the project to be with his family following the tragic loss of his daughter. Joss Whedon, who was already working with Snyder on the film, was asked to step in as Director and finish the film – which included reshoots. Anyone familiar with Snyder and Whedon’s portfolio can easily pick out who directed and wrote the dialogue in which scene, but thankfully they gel well enough together to deliver a sturdy and action-packed 120 minutes. It is a real shame the film got cut to pieces, with lots of footage from the teasers and trailers nowhere to be seen – a thread of which can be found here – but following the bashing the previous films received, it’s understandable (but not welcome) why Warner Bros. would limit the film’s content and run-time to try and appeal to the general audience.

In another twist during the production, Junkie XL was replaced by Danny Elfman as the composer for the film. In all honesty, his score as a whole was a little underwhelming, but there are a few notable moments where the score gave me actual goosebumps , and when you watch the film you’ll know EXACTLY which scenes I mean. Hearing some familiar notes just added to the joy and wonder of what I was witnessing. It really did give off JLA vibes and I felt like I was witnessing my childhood come to life in front of my very eyes.  I would have loved for Hans Zimmer and Junkie XL to score the film, but I guess we don’t always get what we want!

To wrap up, ‘Justice League’ is popcorn blockbuster of epic proportions. Zack Snyder’s  vision comes to fruition with the return of Superman, and with him, the return of hope for the future of the DCEU. I’ve made no secret of my admiration for Snyder and his work, and if this happens to be his final directorial work within the DCEU (which I really hope it isn’t) then he should be proud of his trilogy and what he’s achieved.  ‘Justice League’ is full of heart, humour, and most importantly…hope. It’s flawed and suffers in places with bad CGI, but to finally see these characters on the big screen together and to witness the group dynamic come to life with such an incredible cast is just a childhood dream come true.

You’ll also want to remain seated for the TWO post credit scenes, and believe me, they are well and truly worth it. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

Tom’s Rating: 7.0/10

First ‘Justice League’ Reactions Hit The Web

‘Justice League’ fans have only 6 more days until the League make their way into cinemas across the world, but lucky critics and writers who attended special screenings have now tweeted some of their initial reactions to the film, with full reviews still embargoed until next week.

We’ve hand picked a few reactions for you to read below!

Professor Marston and the Wonder Women

Year: 2017
Directed by: Angela Robinson
Cast: Luke Evans, Rebecca Hall, Bella Heathcote, Connie Britton

Written by Fiona Underhill

To be honest, the title of this film almost put me off this film altogether and having seen it, I still think  the title is pretty awful. However, I’m glad I paid more attention to the film as the release date drew near and I started hearing very positive things about it on Twitter. I am not sure to what extent this was planned and designed, but I’m extremely thankful that this story has come out in the same year as Patty Jenkins’ ‘Wonder Woman‘. I had no idea about this back-story to the creation of the character and the reception to the first comics and it is a fascinating story indeed.

The story is framed by the titular Professor Marston (Luke Evans) having to account for himself before Josette Frank (Connie Britton), a Mary Whitehouse-type figure with a moral crusade against inappropriate material in children’s literature, including comics. He then tells the story of his work as a Harvard psychologist, or more specifically, a Professor at Radcliffe college, a women-only ‘wing’ of Harvard. He is married to Elizabeth Marston (Rebecca Hall), also a psychologist, working on her PhD and fighting to have it recognised by Harvard (instead of just Radcliffe, which is looked down upon). This is perhaps my issue with the title; William Moulton Marston is not the only ‘professor’ Marston and it is phrased as if the two ‘wonder women’ belong to him. The Marstons have an interesting side-line in inventing the lie detector test, using the subject’s heart rate as its prime indicator. Professor Marston becomes interested in one of his students, Olive Byrne (Bella Heathcote, who made an impression in ‘Neon Demon’) and she starts working for the Marstons as an assistant. Gradually it becomes apparent that there is a strong attraction between the three and they start an affair.

As always, Rebecca Hall is fantastic as the sweary, honest and extremely frank Elizabeth. Luke Evans is at his most attractive in the period suits and hats and Heathcote is also impressive after a strong couple of years for her (‘Pride, Prejudice & Zombies’, ‘The Man in the High Castle’, ‘Fifty Shades Darker’). Although it starts off as witnessing a man’s dreams come true (his wife encouraging an affair and a threesome, no less), it becomes apparent that this is not, for once, told from the male gaze. The writer-director Angela Robinson gives equal weight to the two women and their relationship with each other, as well as with William. You genuinely get the impression that all three are in love with one another. Of course, the relationship would be considered unconventional today, let alone in the 1950s and the ‘thruple’ obviously come up against many obstacles. Firstly, both Marstons’ careers are put on the line (forcing Elizabeth to become a secretary), then (after they have moved in together and started having children) there are problems with the neighbours and the children’s school friends.

Professor Marston stumbles across a shop selling lingerie and pornography which has a room in the back for bondage demonstrations. Marston takes a ‘scholarly’ interest in all of this (purely for research purposes, of course) and invites the two ladies to participate. It is portrayed in the film that this has a direct correlation to the inspiration for the character of Wonder Woman. Her Lasso of Truth (harking back to the lie detector test) and various depictions of people tied up in the comics are said to have been sparked by Marston’s interest in bondage. This is what triggers Josette Frank’s outrage and leads to copies of the comic being burned. You definitely get the the impression that William Marston was an enlightened feminist and that he channels this into the comics, but you don’t really see the process that takes him from psychologist to comic-book writer.

To the extent to which this story is entirely factual, I’m not sure. However, this film must be praised for its mostly positive depiction of a polygamous relationship and for exploring aspects of Wonder Woman that I certainly wasn’t aware of. The costumes, hair and make up are, of course, to die for and the acting is exemplary. It makes a great companion piece to the Jenkins film and it is fantastic to see a woman of colour being given an opportunity to make a film with themes such as this. It is worth your support for many reasons, so go see it!

Fiona’s Rating: 8.0/10

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Watch This Space: 9th – 15th October

Every Monday we will be recommending films that are on TV that week, films playing at the cinema, and also remind you of those brilliant films hiding on streaming services, such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, and possibly in your own collection.

In Cinemas

Blade Runner 2049: Fans of the original have waited 35 years for a sequel to ‘Blade Runner’, and last week their wish was granted. It may not be receiving the best numbers at the box office, but fans and critics alike can’t help but share their love the this masterpiece. Our full review will be on site later today!

Star Wars: The Last Jedi: Whilst we know it’s not December yet, we thought we’d take this opportunity to remind you that tickets for ‘The Last Jedi’ go on sale Tuesday AM (UK), and with them comes a brand new trailer! We’ll have it up on site as soon as it hits the web!

The Mountain Between Us: Idris Elba and Kate Winslet are stranded after a tragic plane crash. They must forge a connection to survive the extreme elements of a remote snow covered mountain. ‘The Mountain Between Us’ opened in UK cinemas last Friday, and our full review will be up soon!

On TV

Monday

Se7en (1995): If you discount ‘Alien 3’ because, well, who wouldn’t, ‘Se7en’ was our introduction to a master filmmaker. David Fincher has blessed us with numerous films that rightfully earn their place on countless best films ever lists, though arguably none have managed to be as high on said lists as ‘Se7en.’ It’s a crime noir starring a pre-Fight Club and Morgan Freeman as they investigate a string of murders all based on the seven deadly sins. It’s a deceptively clever thriller that keeps you engaged, guessing, and shocked at some of the truly messed up ways the sins have been visualised as murder scenes. On a personal note, ‘Se7en’ is one of my favourite films of all time. This film can be watched and rewatched countless times and you will still find new things to love about it, right up until it’s brilliant, soul-crushing climax.

 

Tuesday

Southpaw (2015): Directed by Antoine Fuqua and starring Jake Gyllenhaal, ‘Southpaw‘ is the gritty drama about a successful pro boxer who goes off the hinges after his wife is shot at a press event. Gyllenhaal delivers a strong and heavyweight performance as Billy “The Great’ Hope, a husband and father who wins titles in the ring, but ultimately loses himself outside. He’s on top of the world, beating opponents to a pulp with a fight fueled by anger. Hope must rehabilitate himself in order to take back his life and the custody of his daughter. Gyllenhaal’s character is aggressive and the onscreen punches are impressive. If you want something decent and gritty that isn’t afraid to throw punches, this is your film. Catch this knockout boxing drama on Film4 at 9pm.

Wednesday

Locke (2013): One of Tom Hardy’s most astonishing performances makes for an audacious film. Almost entirely a one-man monologue delivered over the course of a long night-time road trip. We watch as Locke slowly unravels and details of his career and personal life are revealed through a series of confessional phone conversations. Remarkable that this film was made at all and I’m very glad it was. Alongside ‘The Drop’ – one of Hardy’s best but underseen roles. Highly recommend.

Dirty Dancing (1987): An iconic soundtrack runs throughout this 80s classic, set in the 60s and telling the tale of a summer romance. Rich girl Baby meets bad boy and dirtier dancer Johnny and an illicit affair is sparked. Throw in a watermelon, a botched abortion and a corner where NOBODY puts Baby and you have one of the most quotable films of a generation. Again, if you haven’t seen it, why not? Rectify this immediately!

The Green Mile (1999): In the season of Stephen King adaptations, why not visit one of the most profound and heart-breaking? Tom Hanks (one of Hollywood’s most reliable actors) stars as Paul Edgecomb, who accompanies men down the ‘mile’, the walk cons take to the chair, to the death. When he meets the simple and naive John Coffey (played to perfection by Michael Clarke Duncan), a giant of a man accused of murdering two young girls, Paul begins to question John’s guilt.

Legally Blonde (2001): Elle Woods (Reese Witherspoon) has everything: hot shot law student boyfriend, top spot in a prestigious sorority house, a stellar fashion sense, and the most infectiously lovely personality. When her sure-to-be future husband unceremoniously dumps her for being too blonde, she is determined to win him back. Using her unstoppable willpower and wit, she gets into Harvard Law School, and brings all her charm, a splash of pink and her chihuahua with her. Riotously fun and positive, Legally Blonde is the perfect antidote to the darker nights.

Thursday

License to Kill (1989): Rewind 17 years before Daniel Craig made James Bond a badass, and you’ll find Timothy Dalton doing it just as good if not better this time in the darkest 007 film of all. Going up against drug baron Robert Davi with the aid of the kick-ass Carey Lowell, Dalton shoots, stabs, water-skis, parachutes and punches his way into the heart of a dangerous drug cartel to bring them down from the inside in a mission of revenge. Blistering action, brutal violence and a real film of it’s time. The world wasn’t ready for a darker 007. Well, they are now. Enjoy!

Titanic (1997): What can be said about the biggest film in the world? I can’t imagine there are many people left who haven’t seen it. It’s a classic tale of boy meets girl, girl meets enormous blue diamond, iceberg meets boat, floating door not big enough for two people. Despite all the cliches, the second half of the film is still quite thrilling and visually spectacular. Get it in your eyeballs.

Friday

GoldenEye (1995): The Cold War is over, but there are plenty of reasons for James Bond to thrill us in the wake of a 6 year absence from an early end to Timothy Dalton’s run in 1989. Old and new cast and crew come together to take 007 to new heights with classic elements laced with a new, modern twist. Pierce Brosnon re-introduces Bond to a new generation of fans going up against rogue agent Sean Bean from bringing the world to it’s knees with a hi-tech super-weapon. With death-defying stunts, loud action sequences, a rousing theme and all the martinis, girls and guns we’ve come to expect from 007, it’s a new era but one that proves nobody does it better still.

Last Action Hero (1993):  The film that easily divides many Arnold Schwarzenegger fans, this is actually far cleverer than it appears and delves into the self-parodying track of spoofing the action genre and Hollywood in general. Director John McTiernan makes sure the action is played out tongue-in-cheek as we jump from inside the silver screen and beyond when Arnie goes up against villain Charles Dance. As long as the film is understood to be a mockery of the thing it tries to be, it comes across more enjoyable than if watched to be a serious actioner. And don’t worry, there are many Arnie one-liners a plenty here. “Iced that guy, to cone a phrase!”

Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part I (2011): The Twilight Saga lives on with its second to last installment, based on the novel Breaking Dawn. Bella Swan, the average girl who fell hard for vampire stud Edward Cullen, gets married and soon becomes impregnated with a half-mortal, half-immortal child. Seen as a potential threat to the local wolf pack and humans, the Cullen family must help Bella survive her pregnancy, and protect their livelihood in Washington. The young Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson reprise their roles in this fairytale drama that grossed big box office numbers among book and film fans alike.Catch the popular endearing story on E4 at 9pm.

Gladiator (2000): It’s Friday, and we all know what that means. A cosy night in, all snuggled up in front of the TV with snacks aplenty. And what better way to spend your Friday evening by watching Ridley Scott’s epic ‘Gladiator’, a 155-minute spectacle that throws you into the gladiator pits of Ancient Rome. With mesmerising cinematography by John Mathieson and career-defining performances from Russell Crowe and Joaquin Phoenix, ‘Gladiator’ is an epic that stands shoulder-to-shoulder with other grand, cinematic spectacles like ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ and ‘Ben-Hur’. A must-see.

 

Hiding Online / In Our Collection / Out This Week

 

Wonder Woman (2017): Yesterday we were treated to the final ‘Justice League’ trailer in which we saw Wonder Woman, along with Bruce Wayne, assemble the League to save the world. As of today, ‘Wonder Woman’ is yours to take home on DVD/Blu-ray in the UK! With it’s record breaking run at the box office almost complete, we can probably expect more records to be broken on her home release.

Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994): Allllrriigghhttyy then! 1994 was a very good year for Jim Carrey. During this breakout year he starred in not one, not two, but three comedy classics. Dumb and Dumber and The Mask were great for Carrey to showcase his talents, but Ace Ventura was the one that he really was allowed to let loose in. With his rubber face cranked up to 11 and his limbs in a non stop hurricane of madness, Ace is a character that Jim Carrey looked like he had the best time playing. It shines through in his performance. The premise is simple. Ace Ventura is hired by the Miami Dolphins to find their missing mascot, Snowflake the Dolphin. What follows is 87 minutes of pure 90s gold. With support from Courtney Cox and Sean Young, Jim Carrey’s Ace Ventura Pet Detective is an easy, fun comedy which will keep you entertained for all its duration. They don’t really make them like this anymore so catch it while you can.

Fast Five (2011): The Fast and Furious franchise, whether you love it or hate it, can be an entertaining breakaway from the mundaneness of everyday life. The absurd car chases, the improbable yet insanely fun shootouts, even the fast-paced fight sequences in which the franchise is renowned for is especially present in the fifth instalment; ‘Fast Five’. Arguably the best in the now 8-film series, ‘Fast Five’ is relentless in its presentation, and with the addition of Dwayne Johnson’s hulking Hobbs joining the rest of the charismatic roster, ‘Fast Five’ rejuvenated a franchise that most felt was on its way out. Popcorn entertainment has never looked so good, so be sure not to miss it!

The Notebook (2004):  If you’re a hopeless romantic, the latest addition to the Netflix roster is for you. Adapted from a Nicholas Sparks novel (king of the rom-com), The Notebook is a story of everlasting love told in two timelines. With notes of The Princess Bride (‘Always’) and Romeo & Juliet (forbidden love), the lead characters are so irresistible to root for. Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams as Noah and Allie bring to screen one of the most authentic representations of first love and teenage love, one that is sure to make you feel sentimental. Watch this under a blanket with a hot cup of cocoa.

A huge thank you to contributors this week: Dave Curtis, Chris Gelderd, Jessica Peña, Rhys Bowen-Jones, Fiona Underhill, Corey Hughes, Sasha Hornby

wts

We’re All In For The Brand New ‘Justice League’ Trailer

“Fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman’s (Henry Cavill) selfless act, Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) enlists newfound ally Diana Prince to face an even greater threat. Together, Batman and Wonder Woman work quickly to recruit a team to stand against this newly awakened enemy. Despite the formation of an unprecedented league of heroes — Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg and the Flash — it may be too late to save the planet from an assault of catastrophic proportions.”

Directed By: Zack Snyder / Joss Whedon
Cast: Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Ray Fisher, Ezra Miller, Jason Momoa, Jeremy Irons, Amy Adams, Amber Heard, Ciarán Hinds
Release Date: 17th November 2017

Watch This Space: October 2nd – 8th

Every Monday we will be recommending films that are on TV that week, films playing at the cinema, and also remind you of those brilliant films hiding on streaming services, such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, and possibly in your own collection.

In Cinemas

Blade Runner 2049: Fans of the original have waited 35 years for a sequel to ‘Blade Runner’, and this week their wish is granted. After some glowing early reactions last week, and lots of high marking reviews (which we’re avoiding until we’ve seen the film!). ‘Blade Runner 2049’ hits UK cinemas this Thursday and the hype could not be any higher.

mother!: “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. ” – Read Sasha’s full review here and see ‘mother!’ before it leaves cinemas!

Kingsman: The Golden Circle: “‘The Golden Circle’ falls short of matching its predecessor, it’s still a lot of fun for fans of the original. There are ridiculous moments , very funny lines, great, silly action sequences, and it’s clear most of the cast are having a lot of fun, particularly Julianne Moore chewing the scenery as the big bad. If you love Kingsman like I do, you’re going to really enjoy this one. If you didn’t, it’s probably best you stay away.” – Rhys’ full review 

On TV

Monday

The Da Vinci Code (2006): A film you either love or hate, this proved unpopular with critics but a huge hit with the public, amassing over $700m at the box-office, obviously boosted by the global acclaim from Dan Brown’s novel which introduced a gripping, thought-provoking thriller that delved into history, shook it up and spat it back out. Tom Hanks is ever likeable in the role of Robert Langdon, doing this best to think, frown and plot his way through a hefty running time that starts from the 1st minute and doesn’t end until the 143rd. The beautiful Audrey Tautou, the wonderful Ian McKellen, the eerie Paul Bettany and fierce Jean Reno all add to the great supporting cast and replicate their literal characters perfectly with the right amount of menace, intelligence, danger and emotion. There is no denying it’s a very intelligent film, combining a fair amount of cat-and-mouse action that keeps that lingering threat present. With wonderful locations and set-design taking us from inside the Louvre to the historic Temple Church in London and a hauntingly beautiful score by Hans Zimmer, words aren’t always needed to paint a picture of sheer wonder as it unravels before you.

Johnny English (2003): Rowan Atkinson stars as the oddly beloved spy, Johnny English, whose absurd antics get him caught up in some messy situations. English is put on assignment to stop the stealing of the Crown Jewels on display at the Tower of London. Along the way, he manages to put his mission in peril, because that's Johnny English for you! Peter Howitt directs this spy parody of a flick, and if Atkinson’s past roles have taught us anything, it's to never put your trust on the dopey guy! See Atkinson channel his inner comedy from his days of being Mr. Bean! Catch Johnny English
on E4 at 8pm!

Tuesday

22 Jump Street (2014): How do you follow up what’s genuinely considered as one of the best comedies of the decade? By sticking to the formula, and owning it. Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum return as the unlikely buddy cop duo and are as funny as each other, with great chemistry and boasting the bromance to end all bromances. On top of that, returning directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller are well aware the film is similar to the first, and let us in on that joke too. 22 Jump Street is a hilarious, meta trip through a buddy cop comedy that is arguably even funnier than its predecessor. Make sure you stick around for the credits. You won’t regret it.

Wednesday

Troy (2004):  From the surprise sword and sandal epic ‘Gladiator’ in 2000, it paved the way for many more to follow. One such outing is the Wolfgang Petersen helmed ‘Troy’ starring Brad Pitt as Greek warrior Achilles, Eric Bana as Trojan Prince Hector and Orlando Bloom as Paris. With sun-kissed skin a plenty, bulging biceps and plenty of rugged good looks, history never looked so flawless as it does here – but enough of that, this is a brutal, bold and brilliantly told story about the Greek war with Troy and the myths that were born from it. A stellar supporting cast, some lavish costumes and well-staged sword fights and action sequences make this a fair old slog, but one that takes its time to craft and tell a character-based story. For fans of ancient history and big budget movies, this is a must and a far better offering than many others of the genre.

American Heist (2014): Adrien Brody stars as Frankie, a man fresh out of prison and ready to relentlessly drag his little brother back into the kind of mess that got him locked up. They brothers reunite upon Frankie’s release only to partake in the biggest and last heist, for old time’s sake. We see Hayden Christensen gracing the screen as younger brother James. With the action and elements of pensive dramas, American Heist is an indie action flick most will find to be a guilty pleasure of sorts. Get into the madness of American Heist airing on Sony at 11pm.

American Honey (2016): Despite its 2 hr 45 min runtime, let this woozy, hazy, dreamlike film wash over you and take you on a road trip across America. Set amongst a ragtag bunch of very young travelling magazine salespeople, this film from British director Andrea Arnold (Fish Tank) features a mesmerising central performance from Sasha Lane. Shia LaBeouf proves once again that he does have the acting chops, away from his erratic personal life. Riley Keough also impresses amongst the ensemble. This film is definitely worth the significant time investment.

Thursday

Godzilla (1998): The year is 1998 and coming off the back of major hits such as ‘Stargate’ and ‘Indepenace Day’, the king of disaster movies Roland Emmerich had set his sights on his next project; the remake of the much loved Japanese monster movie ‘Godzilla’. With an estimated budget of 130 million dollars and huge backing from the studio,  Godzilla was meant to be the next big thing. What actually happened was a mauling from the critics and fans alike. Starring the likes of Matthew Broderick, Jean Reno and Hank Azaria, it had an odd cast. Godzilla for me is a massive amount of fun, greatly under-rated and is misunderstood. It has some great set pieces and the special effects just about hold up. It also has a real gem of a soundtrack, with Puff Daddy, Jamiroquai, Green Day and the Foo Fighters who put in some massive tunes. In Short ‘Godzilla’ is a big, bold, fun, easy watching flick. It deserves a second chance if you haven’t seen it since it came out.

Friday

Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991): This is hands down my favourite adaptation of the Robin Hood lore. Yes, maybe the pacing is a little slow in the middle and it’s jarring having Robin Hood speak with an American accent BUT, on the whole, it’s fun, enjoyable and features some great action and acting talent overall including the late Alan “Cancel Christmas!” Rickman, Morgan Freeman and Mary Elizabeth Manstrantonio. Kevin Costner is a fine Robin Hood. He certainly can make shooting an arrow look undeniably cool, and he has a real everyman approach to being the hero who must lead men to victory whilst dealing with affairs of the heart. And I never get tired seeing him fire the arrow on fire in glorious slow-motion in front of a wall of flame. It uses that heroic swashbuckling feel of Errol Flyn, splicing with a modern Hollywood budget to make this telling look and feel real, with memorable performances, lavish sets, a rousing soundtrack and brilliant stunt-work. It’s probably the best adaptation of the Robin Hood myth we’ve got, and that’s certainly not a bad thing for a film that is as enjoyable and fun as this. And if Sean Connery lends himself for a cheeky, un-credited cameo, what’s not to enjoy?

Black Hawk Down (2001): Featuring an insanely starry cast; everyone from Ewan McGregor and Josh Hartnett (swoon), to a very early Tom Hardy performance – this tense ensemble war drama is beautifully shot and well edited. Telling the story of a disastrous helicopter mission into the heart of Mogadishu in 1993, which led to 100 US soldiers being in a gripping stand-off with hundreds of heavily-armed Somalis. This is one of the few great modern war films.

Hiding Online / In Our Collection / Out This Week

Pirates of the Carribean: Salizar’s Revenge (2017): More un-dead villains, more mystical artefacts, more ship battles, a few sword fights, more young love interests, more double crosses, more CGI. More, more, more. They try to get bigger and better in their action set-pieces, and just when they seem to achieve it, the CGI comes out to enhance everything and ruins it to become silly. The guillotine sequence for one has a nice little comical moment, but it’s ruined by the dumb slapstick. Javier Bardem is under-used, Geoffrey Rush is having fun at least still, and Johnny Depp phones in a performance that literally makes Jack Sparrow look inept – he’s more a clown than a pirate, and it’s a shame to see him resort to so much buffoonery. It’s not the worst POTC film, but that doesn’t say much. More akin to the original than the sequels, but just as bloated and far-fetched. The franchise is tired and now can be tied up, but knowing Disney,  if this makes serious cash, then they’ll crank out a 6th in no time. Read our full review here.. 

Wonder Woman (2017): Whilst it may not be out on DVD and Blu-Ray until next week, ‘Wonder Woman’ is available to buy digitally in the UK.  ‘Wonder Woman’ took the world by storm this year and is now highest grossing superhero origin film of all time and the second highest grossing film this year, after Disney’s live-action ‘Beauty and the Beast’. You can read our full review from earlier this year.

A huge thank you to contributors this week: Dave Curtis, Chris Gelderd, Jessica Peña, Rhys Bowen-Jones, Fiona Underhill,