Posted by Ali Gray
at 22:46 on 19 May 2016
Forgive me for sounding like I'm on the company payroll
, but have Marvel movies ruined superhero movies for everyone else? I fear they have. The Marvel Cinematic Universe made its own space in the superhero sphere; it owns the area marked 'fun'. DC, as a countermeasure to all the lousy fun everyone was enjoying, staked their claim on the 'serious' space; heroes with grim faces carved out of rock, pre-tantrum lip-wobble expressions lashed with rain. Where does this leave the X-Men? I'm sure I don't know anymore, because X-Men: Apocalypse attempts to be all things to all people and ends up being neither overtly fun or remotely serious, just entirely ridiculous. It feels like a superhero movie back from when no one really knew what that was supposed to mean, or, as a friend of mine put it so perfectly: "It's like a shit superhero movie from the nineties".
If you're putting together a wall-mounted Hanks matrix, which I'm sure practically all of you are, pin A Hologram for the King somewhere in the gaping chasm between The Terminal and Cast Away. A man is adrift in a foreign land, and you wouldn't give a shit if he wasn't Tom Hanks. Hologram tries your patience a bit, but its leading man carries it, like he always bloody does.
Plot is overrated, or so I heard Ethan Hawke tell Marc Maron recently
. There's too much of it. Hawke comes from the theatre, where the spell cast by the actors being feet away from you means you can sit watching their interactions outside any framework of story and still go away happy as long as there was a drink at the interval. And so goes his buddy Richard Linklater's latest, in which nothing much happens but you liked it while it didn't.
Posted by Ali Gray
at 14:00 on 05 May 2016
"So what is Vision?" I'm at the pub, still digesting Captain America: Civil War, and I've been caught off guard. "Well, he's... um...he's a, er... so Thor had this sort of bath, then Ultron, erm... You know the Mind Gem, th-..." Christ, I'm racking my brains and his first movie only came out a year ago. Marvel movies move pretty fast; if you don't re-watch regularly, or God forbid miss a movie, your pub trivia game will suffer. (My best guess: Vision is a space ghost fruit roll-up robot butler dressed by George at Asda). Civil War is the 13th movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and if you haven't been paying attention over the last eight years, you're going to find it really, really hard to keep up. The MCU doesn't slow down, doesn't pull its punches and doesn't really do 'Previously, on the Marvel Cinematic Universe..." It has unapologetically and unreservedly been constructed from the ground up for fans - and those fans are going to go bend-over-backwards apeshit crazy for Civil War, arguably the movie that the previous 12 have all been working towards.
Will Idris Elba be Bond? Can he out-Bond Bond? Can Idris Elbond Bond the Bond Bond? Everyone's obsession with Idris becoming the next 007 (give it up - he's not too black, he's too old
) has led to this film being treated like it’s his audition for the role just because he waves a gun around and runs about for a bit. And if it were that easy, they would have cast Elmer Fudd years ago. No, we need to treat this film on its own terms: as a slightly-better-than-generic action thriller with hilariously out-of-touch opinions about how social media works.
Will they... will they be singing? The 1967 classic animation is so embedded in the public consciousness that it's difficult to know what to expect from this live-action retelling. What will the life-like animals look like when they talk? Will Mowgli look just like
cartoon Mowgli? Will Baloo at any point wear coconut shells and a hula skirt? And what of the songs? Those legendary earworms so infectious that it's going to be hard not to resort to punning references throughout this entire review? Thankfully, Jon Favreau delivers a film that is just as wonderful and captivating as that original classic, and he does so by concentrating on the bare n-... the basics. He concentrates on the basics.
Miles Ahead is obviously an awful punning title for a Miles Davis biopic, like "The Biggie They Are, The Harder They Smalls" or something. Or so I thought until someone told me it was the name of one of his albums, which reveals how much I know about jazz and how much Miles Davis knew about good puns.
Everybody looks likes someone or something else in Criminal: Ryan Reynolds looks like a worried owl, Tommy Lee Jones looks like Maz Kanata and Kevin Costner is trying his best to channel Nicolas Cage. Even the film itself is trying to be a Bourne-style thriller, but instead is a weird mishmash of Self/Less and that episode of The Simpsons when Homer has a crayon stuck up his nose.
Posted by Ali Gray
at 00:15 on 01 Apr 2016
How many movies make up a renaissance? Without getting too hung up on terminology, I'm interested how we categorise, rank and file nascent movies - the age of this, the era of that etc. When does a hot streak cool into something of more substance? I only ask because Zootropolis is the latest in an increasingly long line of movies from Walt Disney Animation Studios that can rightfully call itself a classic. If you start with 2010's Tangled (and discount the still rather delightful 2011 Winnie The Pooh kiddy pic), that streak also includes Wreck-It Ralph, Frozen and Big Hero 6, all movies with iconic characters, impressively progressive agendas, humour and heart. Shouldn't we be talking about this decade's body of Disney in more grandiose terms? Zootropolis represents the apex of Disney's sparkling Digital Age; a blissfully beautiful, adventurous and charismatic movie that's typical of the studio of late.
The greatest gladiator match in the history of the world: God versus man.
By which, of course, I mean Zack Snyder, the all-powerful harbinger of wanton destruction, versus us, the humble cinema-goer, merely looking for some entertainment. Some cool stuff, for sure. Maybe even a joke of two. It's Student from the School of Michael Bay versus, say, Andy from Dagenham. Who will win?