We All Float Down Here – IT Trailer Delivers The Scares

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Yes, yes, we all know no one can ever truly replace Tim Curry’s underpants-worrying Pennywise, but damn, folks, this trailer promises mighty creepy things!

Based on one of Stephen King’s best books, this new version of IT is directed by Andy Muschietti and is promised as the first of two films (the second dealing with, well, whichever characters survive their encounter with Pennywise the clown in this installment).

I love Tommy Lee Wallace’s 1990 mini-series fiercely (even despite the deficincies with its ending… yeah, yeah, that spider…) and Tim Curry has given so many people clown-induced nightmares – not to mention provided the scariest internet memes – but I’m totally down with what Warner Bros seem to be serving up here.

IT opens on September 8th in the U.S. and is pretty much guaranteed to make you scared of clowns forever. If, like me, you aren’t already…

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New Thor: Ragnarok Trailer Rocks! Plus Marvel News…

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Thor: Ragnarok, the third solo outing for the Thunder God, looks like it will be taking its cue from James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy films by letting director Taika Waititi up both the humour levels and the outer space weirdness. It will also feature Thor and the Hulk going medieval on each other, of course.

 

Meanwhile, some titbits were revealed concering other forthcoming Marvel movies:

From Ant-Man & The Wasp, the big new casting news is that Michelle Pfieffer will play the first iteration of the Wasp (and Michael Douglas’s wife), Janet Van Dyne.

Laurence Fishburne will play Dr. Bill Foster (aka Goliath)

In Captain Marvel (played by Brie Larson), the villains will be infamous alien shapechangers, the Skrulls, and the film will be set in the 1990s!

Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson, of course) will appear, and with both eyes!

Thor: Ragnarok goes into battle on October 25th, Ant-Man and the Wasp fly on July 6, 2018, and Captain Marvel saves the day on March 8, 2019.

UPDATE: Marvel have just released this madly beautiful poster for Thor: Ragnarok which looks like it ate ALL the e-numbers…

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Get Your First Look at Stranger Things 2

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Ever since Stranger Things became one of the great water cooler TV shows of 2016, fans have been clamouring for more.

Here’s your chance to get your first substantial look at the second season (hot on the heels of the recently released, Lovecraft-inspired teaser poster), and it looks like things are not going to get any less weird for our heroes, and who doesn’t love a trailer with narration by the late, great Vincent Price!?

Starnger Things season 2 is currently in post-production and is set to be released on October 27, 2017.

Discover The New Star Trek Trailer

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The general reaction to the first trailer for Pramount’s new Star Trek: Discovery series was probably not quite what the studio was hoping for, given it will be the flagship show of the new CBS All Access channel (at least in the U.S., thankfully Netflix have picked it up for pretty much every other territory).

This just released second trailer certainly looks a lot more spectacular, and the line readings are less stilted (though it all still seems rather po-faced for my liking, with little of the sense of fun that made the original series so enjoyable, back in 1966).

There’s also plenty to annoy hardcore Star Trek fans with what appears to be a great deal of retconning going on – considering this is a prequel series to Kirk and Spock’s adventures. Though not as much of a prequel as the oft-derided Enterprise show. Still with me on all this…!?

The show features a solid cast, including Sonequa Martin-Green, Michelle Yeoh, Chris Obi, Rainn Wilson, Doug Jones and Jason Issacs.

With a fairly troubled production history to date (including the loss of showrunner, Bryan Fuller), here’s hoping Star Trek: Discovery will find its space legs when it begins airing from September 24th.

New Justice League Trailer Hits Comic-Con!

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As expected, the brand new Justice League trailer dropped at Hall H at the San Diego Comic-Con today and I’m happy to bring it to you in all its glory.

The film, the first to bring together DC Comics’ heavy-hitter characters (Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg) recently took a sad hit in production when director Zack Snyder had to step down from the director’s chair, following a tragic family loss earlier this year.

Joss Whedon, already hard at work on the Warner Bros. lot developing the new Batgirl movie, has stepped in to bring the League across the finishing line. Whedon, with The Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron under his belt, has a little experience of delivering mildly successful superhero team movies, of course.

Ben Affleck took to the stage at SDCC, prior to the trailer’s screening, to debunk yesterday’s rumours which suggested Warner Bros. were looking to transition him out of The Batman role, ready for a re-cast. I’m happy to hear this, as his take on the Caped Crusader was one of the few genuine highlights of Batman vs Superman: Dawn of the Franchise.*

Justice League will unite in cinemas on November 16. And I have to say, I dug the heck out out of this trailer. Here’s hoping DC have finally learned how to handle their characters in the right way…

*I know, I know…

Spielberg’s Ready Player One Trailer

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Based on the 2011 debut novel by Ernest Cline, Ready Player One is also the next film from master of cinema, Steven Spielberg. The first trailer has just dropped from the San Diego Comic-Con.

Spielberg and co say the film will be faithfull to the source material but also introduce enough fresh elements to give this its own identity.

As someone with little interest in games or gaming this should contain little to excite me, but you know, it’s Spielberg so I’m hoping to be pleasantly surprised (not least of which by that Iron Giant cameo)…

Netflix’s Super Friends – Marvel’s The Defenders

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After the hugely disappointing Iron Fist, my hopes for The Defenders, Netflix’s all-star Marvel mash-up, were seriously on the wane.

Thankfully, positive word of mouth and this latest trailer have done a great deal to restore confidence.

The pilot episode was screened at the San Diego Comic-Con yesterday and reports are largely positive, including this review from Birth.Movies.Death. Alongside the good news, a second trailer has been released which not only makes the show look like a whole lot of fun (a quality seriously lacking from Iron Fist) but also promises a terrific performance from the show’s Big Bad, the legend that is Sigourney Weaver.

The thought of Evil Ellen Ripley going toe-to-toe with Jessica Jones is worth the price of admission alone. Throw in Daredevil and Luke Cage too (…okay, and Iron Fist, if we must) and I’m certain I’ll be bingeing come release day. That this show is only eight episodes is also a huge plus point, as all of the Netflix/Marvel shows have suffered from over-extending their dramatic life.

All episodes of Marvel’s The Defenders drop on Netflix, August 18th.

A Fin Romance – Del Toro’s The Shape of Water

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Guillermo Del Toro has so many projects announced that at times it’s quite a surprise when one actually reaches the screen. When they do they’re always very welcome and The Shape of Water is no exception.

His latest is a fantasy romance set against the backdrop of the Cold War (around 1963) and tells the tale of lonely Elisa (Sally Hawkins), trapped in a life of silence and isolation while working at a hidden high-security government laboratory. Elsa’s life is changed forever when she and co-worker Zelda (Octavia Spencer) discover a secret classified experiment.

Del Toro has landed a fabulous cast to star alongside Hawkins and Spencer, including Doug Jones (that’s him in the fish suit, of course), Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins, Lauren Lee Smith and Michael Stuhlbarg.

With a trailer as charming as this it’s sure to be a delightful (and moist) tug at the heartstrings.

The Shape of Water is scheduled for release on December 8, 2017.

Disney Release New Look At Star Wars: The Last Jedi

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Disney’s huge D23 convention has just fired one of its big guns, as they revealed a new behind-the-scenes video for writer/director Rian Johnson‘s Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

There’s a lot of interesting material here, including the first footage of new characters played by by Laura Dern and Benicio Del Toro, as well as a glimpse of Carrie Fisher in her final role as Princess Leia.

This episode of the long-running franchise will obviously be an emotional journey. Star Wars: The Last Jedi is released on December 15, 2017.

Apes Together Strong – War Continues A Great Summer

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Frankly, when Fox announced a (second) reboot of their beloved Planet of the Apes franchise back in 2010 it elicited little more than a resigned sigh from me. When news came that the apes would be fully realised with CGI my heart sank.

As a long-time fan of the original series of films (I saw most of them at the cinema in the early 1970s) I’d already been burned by the reboot attempted by Tim Burton a decade before this most recent announcement, in 2001. That film still arguably stands as Burton’s worst (even though it had some great design and make-up work).

Still I trudged dutifully into the cinema in 2011 to see James Franco kickstart the Rise of the Planet of the Apes and came out two hours later with a pleasantly surprised smile on my face. Rupert Wyatt’s prequel reimagining (and my fingers tremble even just typing that phrase) was a thoughful and engaging movie, and the work of the actors (including Andy Serkis) and animators meshed almost seamlessly to give us an exciting new take on the apes.

My surprise grew to actual anticipation for Matt Reeve’s Dawn of the Planet of the Apes in 2014 and I was not disappointed. The visuals improved again and we were given an even more exciting and thought-provoking story with Caeser (Serkis) doing his best not to lead his apes into war against mankind’s few survivors of the simian plague which had all but wiped them out at the close of the previous movie.

By now I was actually excited to see Matt Reeves, Andy Serkis and co. return for the third film in this respectful but fresh series of films, and I’m happy to say that War for the Planet of the Apes not only met my expectations but far exceeded them.

First a word about the ape work. The actors and animators combine talents here to give the most astonishing performances yet seen in motion capture. These apes live, breathe and feel to such a high level that it simply becomes impossible to look at them as special effects. For me, Caesar, Maurice, Rocket, “Bad Ape” (a hugely enagaging new character) and the other apes have reached a point where you feel the awards bodies should really be bringing in a new category to recognise these remarkable types of roles.

The story opens with Caesar’s clan fighting against a human military faction called Alpha-Omega. Once again Caesar attempts to take the higher ground by moving the apes to another location, one which will see them leave the worsening human aggression behind. But Alpha-Omega’s leader, a mysterious, Colonel Kurtz-like character (played with layered gusto by Woody Harrelson) soon escalates events to a very personal level, taking Caeser on a mission which will see the leader tested as never before.

War of the Planet of the Apes is constantly surprising and totally enthralling, it continues in the vein of the best of the Apes films by telling a story which is both thoughtful and exciting. It leads towards a war of almost biblical proportions, but one whose combatants are something of a surprise. As with the very best summer blockbusters, Reeves and his team give us exactly what they promise, just not in exactly the way we might expect.

Kudos also to the screenplay (by Mark Bomback and Matt Reeves), to Michael Seresin’s beautiful cinematography and also to Michael Giacchino for a truly memorable score, one that reminded me of John Barry’s work in several places. These combine to give a movie which really should be experienced at a cinema.

The film is also surprisingly emotional (I was weeping openly at the finish) and if this turns out to be the final film of a trilogy (highly unlikely, right Fox…?), then it will end as a triumph. We have been gifted with two wonderful runs of Apes movies and this latest trilogy is proof that an old idea can have new life breathed into it in the right hands.

Summer 2017 has seen a remarkable run of truly excellent movies and this might just be the best of an exceptional bunch. It’s definitely the best of the new Apes trilogy.