3 reasons why Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar could be the best film of 2014.

I am a Nolanite. I have been since i saw Batman Begins in 2005. In my opinion he has yet to have made a bad movie, and yes i am one of the people who loved 2012’s The Dark Knight Rises. When it was announced that he was to direct a sci-fi epic written by him and his brother, i was pumped. After the first teaser was released, people were disappointed because it generally didn’t show any of the movie and was very ambiguous in nature. But, after seeing the latest trailer, the public (myself included) began to see what an epic, grand scale movie Nolan was making and how it, like Gravity, could be a game changer for the movie industry.

Here are three main reasons i am excited, and will be there opening night at IMAX. 

1.) Emotional resonance.

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The biggest criticism of Nolan and his films are often how they are very plot based and don’t have much emotional strength. I beg to differ, citing his first and last Batman movies as evidence, but i agree that Inception was very plot focused. To be a really, really great movie this needs to inspire and to tug on the heart strings. From the looks of the trailer, the father/daughter relationship will be at the emotional core of this movie. Great child actors are very hard to come by, but Nolan looks to have cast a fantastic one in the form of Mackenzie Foy. The dialogue in the trailer between her and McConaughey was chilling and the meaning behind the Murphy’s law and her name makes for a good set up for strong chemistry between the characters of Coop and Murph.

It can still be a good movie and be mainly plot driven, but to really invigorate everyone watching, Nolan needs to make use of his fantastic actors to give emotional, spellbinding performances. 

2.) Space and wormholes.

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From the second trailer, the space shots look absolutely incredible. The curving of the stars and other celestial objects as McConaughey and his ship travel through the galaxy look phenomenal and Nolan has really used some never before seen space imagery that looks amazing and trippy. Even thought much of the trailer is set on earth, it is rumored that roughly two thirds of themovie is set either in space or on a foreign planet and if this is true, then almost nothing has been shown from that standpoint.

What is really exciting is that while space has been done before, many times in film, there has never been such a high profile and sophisticated movie dealing with wormholes, especially by such a gifted director. While Wally Pfister (Nolan’s previous DoP) is not working on Interstellar, Nolan has brought in the talented Hoyte Van Hotema (Her) to give his movie a beautiful and unique look. While the earth moments in the film look fantastic and poignant, it’s the space shots that will really sell the movie to a wide audience.

3.) The Cast.

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A high caliber cast doesn’t begin to describe this ensemble of actors.. McConaughey, Hathaway, Chastain, Bentley, Affleck and Caine aren’t just big names, but incredible actors to boot. What a great few years for Matthew McCounaughey! Films like Mud, The Lincoln Lawyer, Magic Mike, The Wolf Of Wall Street and Dallas Buyers Club have really cemented McConaughey as not just a rom-com actor who likes to take his shirt off, but a serious and talented Oscar caliber performer. Smart move by Nolan to cast the up and coming A lister as an ‘everyman.’ While the buzz around Anne Hathaway has died down after her Oscar win for Les Miserables, her talent has not and Interstellar is sure to shoot her back into the spotlight, Nolan must have really liked what he saw with her portrayal of Catwoman in his epic final to the dark knight saga in 2012.

I also firmly believe that Jessica Chastain is the greatest actress working today. She disappears into every role she plays and seems to be so extremely dedicated to her work and to her director’s. In an absolutely flooring performance in Zero Dark Thirty, Chastain was deservedly nominated for an Oscar and while Jennifer Lawrence won for Silver Linings Playbook, Chastain’s performance was superior in my opinion. Here’s hoping she lands more roles like this because her acting chops are phenomenal.

Rounding out the cast is the previously mentioned Mackenzie Foy, Wes Bentley, Casey Affleck, John Lithgow, Ellen Burstyn and Michael Caine. Those names are enough to lead a blockbuster movie on talent alone, and here they are supporting one. These actors will bring subtlety, emotional resonance and depth to these characters and their presence could not excite me more. 

So are you excited for Interstellar? What aspects intrigue you?

– Logan.

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Why I’m a little concerened about 20th Century Fox’s X-Men universe.

20th Century Fox has been hit and miss with their X-Men universe, they need the next movie to be a hit.

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For most audiences the track record of the X-Men movie goes like this:

The Good: X-Men, X-Men 2, X-Men: First Class.

The Watchable: The Wolverine.

The Bad: X-Men: The Last Stand, X-Men Origins: Wolverine.

With a patchy track record and usually a moderate success at the box office, everything is riding on the next instalment’s success.

Enter Bryan Singer. Having directed the first two critically and commercially successful X-Men films, Fox has decided to hand the reigns back over to the man that won them that acclaim first. Constructing a massive cast that includes Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry, Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and Jennifer Lawrence to name a few, this new film is guaranteed to turn heads, whether in a good way or bad.

The reason I am concerned for this movie is because of one major reason: marketing.

We got a trailer a few months back that everyone enjoyed and appreciated, but that trailer had no money shot or legitimate action depicted. For the studios to draw in large, blockbuster audiences, they need this footage out for the world to see.

And since that trailer, practically nothing has been seen of the film apart from a few stills and a few magazine covers. Competitors such as Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures have released many trailers and tv spots already for Captain America: The Winter Soldier and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 alike. All current attention is focused on these films due to fantastic marketing, and if Fox don’t act fast, their new X-Men picture is going to be forgotten about.

If this happens, the movie might flop or make considerably less. This could lead to the whole franchise being in jeopardy and 2016’s X-Men: Apocalypse being on thin ice.

I hope none of this happens, I believe it will be a fantastic movie, but I wish the marketing department would step up their game. Get the trailer out and save the future of their franchise.

What do you think of the marketing of X-Men: Days Of Future Past.

– Logan.

American Hustle: review.

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This movie was one of my most anticipated come this awards season so naturally I went to see it on opening day. My theatre was packed and most cinema goers were excited to see what director David O’Russell and his stellar cast had created.

My reaction: slightly disappointed though extremely entertained.

The movie begins at a weird point and then jumps back a bit in the timeline without the viewer realising. The pacing is great throughout but the beginning seemed a little rushed. For the visuals, lots of yellow colours and 70s sets make this a great film to look at, David O’Russell doesn’t waste any shot and makes each one interesting and well thought out.

For the acting, Bale was phenomenal. He displays range in an actor rarely seen on screen these days and really draws you into his performance. Cooper played a character who was a angry, aggressive an a little crazy at some stages and shows that he can do a lot more than comedy as proved by this film and Silver Linings Playbook. Amy Adams is phenomenal playing a character with multiple egos and she simply lights up the screen. Her English accent is impeccable and she blends the personas of Sidney and Edith into one complex individual who is a little lost in regards to where she wants to be. Jeremy Renner plays the most likeable character and you generally feel sorry for him when conned by Bale and co. He portrays a mayor at the centre of a financial scam and he believes he is just doing business. Renner’s best performance since The Town.

But the real woman who everybody in my theatre couldn’t get enough of was Jennifer Lawrence. What an actress. She brings humour, warmth and charm to a movie that needs all three. She is glowing on screen and provides an excellent moral compass for Bale’s character Irving. One point she does a mad karaoke dance to Paul McCartney’s classic, Live And Let Die and it is one of the funniest scenes in cinema this year.

But as far as the story went, I wasn’t completely engaged in where it was going and what the stakes were. The movie didn’t seem too concerned with the story telling aspect. I loved the characters and their intricacies but generally I found the plot a little lacking and I just wanted to see some more mad antics from Bale, Adams, Cooper, Renner and especially Lawrence.

Some of the personas in this film are shocking and Bradley Cooper’s FBI agent is especially unpredictable and grows more so as the film progresses. He wasn’t an extremely likeable character which I thought was a great choice to make the film more balanced by O’Russell because the rest of the cast are so amiable in their roles that it could make it a little one sided if Cooper’s character was this way as well.

The soundtrack is appropriate for the time it is set ala the 70s and it provides a good beat and rhythm to the events unfolding on screen. Where the plot is lacking, O’Russell makes up for it in genuine laughs and pure entertainment from the 5 main actors. A brilliantly acted and directed film with each line delivered perfectly and not going to waste but as a whole, the general story was lacking. Still I recommend this movie whole heatedly and I believe it should get nominated and quite possibly win a few acting related Oscars come awards season.

8/10

– Logan.

Thoughts on X-Men: Apocalypse.

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Recently it was announced via Bryan Singer’s twitter account that the next instalment in the X-Men franchise was to be titled X-Men: Apocalypse. This was a big surprise to everyone because while the general public expected another X-Men sequel to be announced eventually, no one expected it to be done this soon with a title and a director already attached.

For me, this is a good sign. If 20th Century Fox weren’t satisfied with what they have seen of X-Men: Days Of Future Past from Bryan Singer, then they would not greenlight a direct sequel so quickly and especially not with him as director. This says to me that they believe that they have a great movie on their hands that they think will be successful and that they think the man in the directors chair is good enough and capable to bring in the next instalment.

From what I’ve heard rumour wise, it will take place solely in the First Class universe with James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender’s Professor X and Magneto returning. This is a good sign. Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen’s characters, while good have had their arcs and stories told and it is time for the younger versions to shine.

Apocalypse could be a fantastic villain because he brings a new threat other than anti-mutant personas like Stryker and Bolivar Trask, manages to be a compelling character and his name works well as a title. Hopefully Fox takes this opportunity to bring Gambit into the universe once and for all.

What do you think of this news? What do you want to see in 2016’s X-Men: Apocalypse? Let me know in the comments.

– Logan.

Bryan Singer announces X-Men: Apocalypse for 2016!

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Bryan Singer announced from his twitter account that there is another X-Men movie planned for 2016. No official announcement has come from Fox but expect one in the coming months.

I think that this shows that Days Of Future Past is going well since Fox is giving Singer the reins to another X-Men.

What so you think of this exciting news?

– Logan.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire review. (SPOILERS)

I recently saw The Hunger Games: Catching Fire on the opening night, and what an experience it was.

Having read all three books by Suzanne Collins, the second was by far my favourite. It had built on the solid structure of the first one and had expanded the world, creating an epic feeling. The games had a more shocking and brutal feeling to them and Katniss and Peeta’s relationship was a highlight of the book. So, going into the movie adaption, i had high hopes and felt slightly nervous.

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I needn’t have worried. Director Francis Lawrence has given us one of the most stunning dystopian movies in the history of cinema. It is so faithful to the book that diehard fans will love it, and it has plenty of well executed exposition so the uninitiated will feel right at home from the first shot. About 2/3rds of the movie is the aftermath of the first games, the setting up of the second and the spark of the rebellion. This is made in such an enthralling nature that it is just as riveting and as exciting as the games themselves.

The lead up is done so much better than the first one so when i saw Katniss and the other tributes rising up on their platforms to the centre of the arena, my heart was pounding. And a big bonus came out of the first bloodbath that made this one instantly distinguishable from the first: no shaky cam. After that, the action rarely stops to take a breath. Whether it’s giant monkeys, deadly fog, a tidal wave or blood rain, Katniss and her fellow tributes are always kept busy. It’s exhilarating to watch.

As for the acting, Jennifer Lawrence proves once again that she is the best actress working in Hollywood. She portrays aggressiveness, anger, fear and determination so well that all you can do is marvel. She is backed up by the stellar Liam Hemsworth and Josh Hutcherson who proved me wrong that he is a weak actor because he looks much more convincing on screen this time around. Woody Harrelson is again fantastic with some of the funnier lines while still being an emotional rock and Elizabeth Banks is given more to work with with a more vulnerable Effie Trinket. Sam Clafin and Jena Malone portray aggressive tributes Finnick Odair and Johanna Mason well with shades of vulnerability usually not seen in characters such as these. Donald Sutherland as President Snow is menacing and sleazy while radiating power. All in all a stellar cast turn in stellar performances.

I love that James Newton Howard kept some of the same themes from the first one while expanding his soundtrack in the second movie. It gives it a great sense of continuation.

The effects of course are top notch, with stunning shots of the capitol and hovercrafts that look so real it’s impossible to tell its CGI. There are excellently crafted live action set pieces with added CGI that blend together so well.

Panem and its 12 Districts are given more depth and really feel like a real world in this epic tale. I loved it from start to finish and can’t wait for the next installment. The final shot of the movie will inspire hope in many, an inspired move by both Lawrence’s.

See it now.

10/10

– Logan.

Thoughts on Julianne Moore as Alma Coin in Mockingjay.

Julianne Moore has been cast as Alma coin in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 and 2.

Great choice Lionsgate! Moore is an incredible actress and this is the casting choice they needed to make to bolster the weakest story in The Hunger Games books. Moore is perfect for the stubborn and enigmatic coin and will bring a new life to the role. I think she will play greatly of Jennifer Lawrence’s Katniss and could create fantastic chemistry between the two.

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People were suggesting Sigourney Weaver and Jodie Foster for the role but i think Weaver might have been a little boring and Foster didn’t impress me in Elysium in which she was in a similar role. Moore has been nominated for an Academy Award four times and i think this is the role that might earn her her fifth nomination or even a win.

Fantastic decision from Lionsgate, my hopes have been re-vamped for Mockingjay.

– Logan.