Cinema City Film Quiz #171

[31 July 2016]


Winning Team:
True Lies And False Hopes
Genre – We predict no team name will be good enough to win this week

Runners Up:
True Blue Harvest Lies
Genre – The taskers help the Ewoks stop the Empire turning Endor blue
The David Lynch Mob
Genre – Period gang warfare mystery horror
We CAN Handle The Truth!
Genre – Jack Nicholson changed his mind
Boyz N The Falsehood
Genre – Straight outta nowhere, a gang of inner-city youths join a gang.. or do they?
Jason Porn
Genre – True or False: Jason Bourne got his memory erased so he could forget his sketchy past


ROUND I: Pre-Production
1. What is the name of Scarlett Johansson’s character in Luc Besson’s Lucy?
LUCY
2. What type of animal is the title character in Jaws?
SHARK
3. How many Iron Man films have been made to date?
THREE
4. What colour is Belle’s gown in Beauty And The Beast?
YELLOW
5. What was the title of the first James Bond film?
DR NO
6. Who played the lead role in Meet Joe Black?
BRAD PITT
7. What is the title of the third Twilight film?
TWILIGHT: ECLIPSE
8. In which film does Will Smith play a military scientist and one of the last surviving humans in New York?
I AM LEGEND
9. Which film studio’s logo features a mountain arced with several stars?
PARAMOUNT
10. Disney released Cinderella, Alice In Wonderland, Peter Pan, Lady And The Tramp and Sleeping Beauty in which decade?
1950s


ROUND II: Filming [True/False Special]
1. The word zombie is never used in Night Of The Living Dead. True or False?
TRUE
2. All the scenes that take place inside the matrix are tinted green. True or False?
TRUE
3. The guitar smashed up in The Hateful Eight by Kurt Russell was an antique from the 1870’s on loan, not the intended prop. True or False?
TRUE
4. Buzz’s girlfriend in Home Alone is a picture of a boy in a wig because Chris Columbus believed casting a girl to be ridiculed would be cruel. True or False?
TRUE
5. Stanley Kubrick made sure Alex had a pet snake in A Clockwork Orange after he found out Malcolm McDowell had a fear of reptiles. True or False?
TRUE
6. Due to contract obligations, Frank Sinatra had to be offered the role of John McClane in Die Hard. True or False?
TRUE
7. Laurence Fishburne lied about being 17 to secure his role in Apocalypse Now, being only 14 at the time. True or False?
TRUE
8. A History Of Violence was the last major Hollywood film released on VHS. True or False?
TRUE
9. Jim Caviezel was struck by lightning during the crucifixion scene in The Passion Of The Christ. True or False?
TRUE
10. The cigarettes smoked in Stand By Me were made from cabbage leaves. True or False?
TRUE


ROUND III: Post-Production
1. How many members made up the Nostromo crew in Alien (excluding Jones)?
SEVEN (Dallas, Ripley, Ash, Kane, Parker, Lambert, Brett)
2. What was the name of Stanley Ipkiss’ dog in The Mask?
MILO
3. The song “Ding dong, the witch is dead” is about which character in The Wizard Of Oz?
THE WICKED WITCH OF THE EAST
4. What is the title of the Nicolas Cage film in which he plays a successful single New York broker who wakes up Christmas morning as a father of two in New Jersey?
THE FAMILY MAN
5. Battle Los Angeles was released in which year?
2011
6. What was the name given to the flesh-eating subterranean humans in The Time Machine?
MORLOCKS
7. What are the respective titles of the films making up the Divergent series (one point per correct answer)
DIVERGENT / INSURGENT / ALLEGIANT / ASCENDANT
8. What was used to make the clashing swords spark in the final scene of Highlander?
CAR BATTERIES
9. What is the surname of the main family in The Godfather (Don Vito, Michael, Sonny, etc)?
CORLEONE
10. The following quote is from which film, “Right now there is a whole entire generation that never knew anything that didn’t come out of this tube. This tube is the gospel, the ultimate revelation; this tube can make or break presidents, popes, ministers”?
NETWORK


ROUND IV: Promotion & Release
1. What was the title of the sequel to The Ipcress File, starring Michael Caine? The Iron Curtain? The Hong Kong Bureau? Funeral In Berlin?
FUNERAL IN BERLIN
2. What was the name of the female lead (playing the role of Claire Phelps) in Mission: Impossible? Nina Petri? Emmanuelle Béart? Lorella Cravotta?
EMMANUELLE BEART
3. Which of the following dinosaurs does not feature in The Lost World: Jurassic Park? Ankylosaurus? Parasaurolophus? Pachycephalosaurus?
ANKYLOSAURUS
4. How many minutes of screen time does Darth Vader have in Star Wars? 12? 26? 47?
TWELVE
5. Which artist did Kirk Douglas portray in Lust For Life? Leonardo Da Vinci? Vincent Van Gogh? Pablo Picasso?
VINCENT VAN GOGH
6. In production terms, what does the swing gang do? Last minute set decorators? A composer’s note takers? Caretakers of actor’s trailers?
LAST MINUTE SET DECORATORS
7. Of the nineteen Pokemon films made to date, how many have been released in UK cinemas? 3? 9? 16?
THREE
8. Which of the following songs does not feature in West Side Story? One hand, one heart? Somewhere? So long, farewell?
SO LONG, FAREWELL (from Sound Of Music)
9. What colour is the lifeboat in Life Of Pi? Blue? White? Yellow?
WHITE
10. The MPAA would only allow the release of Meet The Fockers if the studio could prove that a family living in America had the surname Focker. True or False?
TRUE


BOUNS IMAGE ROUND
Screenshots: Bridesmaids / Knocked Up / How To Train Your Dragon 2
Poster: Whip It
Actor: Kristen Wiig


FINDING DORY

An Unforgettable Journey She Probably Won’t Remember

Director
Andrew Stanton

Starring
Ellen DeGeneres
Albert Brooks
Hayden Rolence
Ed O’Neill



Outside of Toy Story, Pixar haven’t had a great deal of luck with sequels. To date we’ve had Cars 2 (a sequel to, frankly, the weakest Pixar release) and Monsters University, which contradicted its own backstory and delivered a lot of bland, neutered college humour. Unless you’re just looking at the income figures (which producers tend to) in which case, Pixar’s sequels have been doing really well and their original properties are now a questionable liability in the face of familiarity and bankable success: hence why, of the next four scheduled releases, only one is an original property. While I will admit that this release is better than the aforementioned sequels and maybe even Toy Story 2, it still doesn’t even come close to its predecessor.

One year after the events of Finding Nemo, Dory regularly attends school with Nemo [Rolence], much to the amusement of the other children. During one particular lesson, migration instincts and family are discussed and Dory is struck by an extremely vivid flashback of her own parents. In a panic, she manages to convince Marlin [Brooks] that she misses her parents but can’t find them by herself. Reluctantly, Marlin agrees to assist Dory, based on the fragments of clues she can piece together. Before long the group arrive at a marine institute in California but are separated. Outside, Marlin and Nemo desperately fear for their friend and do everything they can to get into the institute to save her. Inside, Dory enlists the help of a cantankerous but well-meaning octopus called Hank [O’Neill] who is desperate to be transferred to a permanent exhibit rather than being released back into the wild.

Avoiding the cynicism of toy sale motivation for a second, moving the story to the Californian side of the Pacific (from the Oceania area in the last) introducing us to a host of new breeds – and by extension new characters – was a nice touch. This ensures that even though the film dips into familiar territory of fan favourites, like the seagulls and the turtles, we are still treated to an array of new sights. From disposable additions like the rather terrifying squid to the recurring supports in the form of affable sea lions, a beluga whale and a whale shark, there’s more than enough to guarantee this film has a life and visual personality of its own. If you’re wondering why I haven’t mentioned Hank, it’s because I’m saving most of my thoughts on him for later. But let’s address our lead for a second. I always maintain side characters should often stay in your peripheral view to avoid overloading, like staring at the sun. The second you focus on them too intently, they start to damage your perception of them and aspects that you love quickly become irritating. You only have to look at the disappointing Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and Minions to see what I mean; not always bad but never up to par. Thankfully, Dory doesn’t fall into that category. While she was essentially a gimmick, the performance and heart behind her character was strong enough to form a connection with the audience. Analysing her past through flashback touches on a lot of ideas about raising children with mental health issues without making it a punchline or essentially “fixing the problem” – a development most animated family films would lazily fall back on. Another sigh of relief that carried over from the conclusion of the last film is the relationship between Dory and Marlin. I can’t express enough how happy I am that at no point did the story angle toward “why are we not pairing up these unaffiliated male and female characters?” I like they see each other as family rather than potential lovers or.. whatever the Pixar-appropriate nautical equivalent would be.

The achievements made in Finding Nemo were truly cutting edge. The visual range of lighting, the deep colour palate, the illusionary depth of field in an essentially flat image, it was wondrous. Finding Dory regrettably loses a lot of originality points but more than makes up for it in technical flair. Building on this established platform, the artists could instead focus on the more perplexing and tricky task of figuring out how to make that octopus move without looking like a solid lump; which they did, beautifully. I’d like to say the same of Thomas Newman’s score but it’s frankly just a bit forgettable. Don’t get me wrong, it’s perfectly serviceable and displays Newman’s signature sound but doesn’t stand out as one of his finest efforts. Which leads me to a bit of an odd point in this critique: several of my most recent reviews have been heaped with praise and yet I have fallen on a middling or sub-par rating. So for a second, I need you to put aside the technical achievements, the endearing characters and the mature mental health subtext and focus on two relatively boring but crucial elements that this film fumbles with: story and purpose.

You can have all the bells and whistles to make a visual spectacle and even all the emotional notes to yank the heartstrings from people’s chests but that doesn’t mean anything cinematically in place of a good story. Dory going on a quest to reconnect with her parents is a positive starting point but it still manages to regurgitate a lot of the perils and pitfalls from the first film, highlighting not only the similarities between the execution for this adventure but basically the plot too. Then we get on to purpose, much like Jason Bourne, we’ve been away from this setting for over a decade and this is the story you come back with? Yeah, it’s rather pleasing but it doesn’t have the weight behind its absence, that bold statement of “boy, have we got a story to tell you!” Instead, we’re given “Hey kids, do you want to know the origins of Dory’s various traits, quirks and catchphrases? ‘Cause we’re going to go through them all like a tick-box exercise.” See, no matter how good the execution, I hate prequels; it’s the inevitability of the film’s conclusion. While Finding Dory isn’t exactly a prequel, it’s so heavily reliant upon flashback that it feels very repetitive. To be honest, this is a bit of a double-edged sword when dealing with someone/something afflicted by short-term memory loss as often the only way to ensure anything sticks is routine, muscle-memory and repetition. But in doing this we are robbed of a modicum of tension in the process. And these aren’t little frustrations but major keys to this film. In the hands of other sequels and lesser studios, we dismiss these issues as “well they clearly don’t know any better, at least they got other elements right.” But Pixar is an A* student, so any time they produce something that ranks a C or a D we can’t help but wonder what happened. How did we get here? Is this a trend or is it just a blip? As mentioned in my intro, this is probably the second strongest sequel (way behind Toy Story 3) in the Pixar oeuvre but coming back to these characters should mean more. Are we going to get a Finding Marlin wherein we go to somewhere like Japan and focus on the dangers of a people who eat a lot of seafood? It feels like there was a chance to give us a very different kind of adventure and regrettably, we kind of got more of the same – albeit limited to the confines of a human-operated marine facility rather than the vastness of the open ocean. Having said all that, much like reviewing a Marvel film or a Tarantino release, Pixar has the benefit of being so much better than most animated family fare and is above and beyond the competition but when drawing a comparison between its own body of work, comes up a little short.


Release Date:
29th July 2016

The Scene To Look Out For:
**Huge spoilers within**
Once Marlin, Nemo and Dory are reunited, she is still intent on finding her parents but quickly realises that they left the institute searching for her, leading her to believe they are in fact dead. Through a series of rushed events, Marlin and Nemo are packed off to an aquarium in Cleveland, Hank bolts to avoid capture and in the process, Dory is jettisoned through a drain and into the sea. Lost, alone, panicked and wracked with guilt, Dory finds herself in the exact same predicament and location she was as a child. Regressing to what she knows, she flounders before trying to calm herself and work through her situation rationally. I stated earlier that while the film may suffer with story and purpose it excels with visuals and emotion. Case in point, Dory being alone again is absolutely crushing but the tears welling up are completely earned. For the first time, we are put in Dory’s shoes, not knowing what to do or how to fix the situation and struck by the very real fear that she may not even remember this incident. It’s a powerful but subtle development (that quickly escalates into the overt emotional development we would expect) that reminds us of the prowess and skill of these storytellers and actually builds on an area that the original missed out on.


Notable Characters:
Based on the various ads and trailers, I couldn’t place the voice used for Hank. Watching the film, it quickly became apparent that Ed O’Neill had been tasked for the role and as any fan of Modern Family can tell you, O’Neill nails the cranky old git with a heart of gold perfectly. Everything about this character is a wonderful addition to the film, from the personality, to the amazing visual effects utilised to bring him to life, to the educational aspects about octopus’ abilities as nefarious escape artists. Random aside, octopuses are one of the highest forms of naturally occurring intelligence and evolutionary design outside of our own which is why I feel bad whenever I eat takoyaki. But I digress. There is, however, a major character flaw with this individual. Throughout the film, we are told that Hank fears the open ocean, he has experienced trauma in the sea and has absolutely no desire to return there. Missing a tentacle, a fear of being touched, not wanting to get emotionally close to people, there’s a clear backstory here that is completely unexplored despite being one of the major aspects of this character’s every motivation. Which makes me really worried they’re simply saving it for yet another sequel. A simple expository scene or two would easily illuminate why this guy is not a fan of the wild but I could imagine producers being sold on “ever wondered why Hank hates the ocean? Well get ready for Finding Hank!”

Highlighted Quote:
“Guys, I found help. Sigourney Weaver’s gonna tell us where we are”

In A Few Words:
“All things considered this could have been so much worse and formulaically speaking everything you could want in a Pixar film is arguably here but thanks to retreading a lot of old ground and a very flimsy premise weakens what could have been a marvelous feature”

Total Score:

3/5

JASON BOURNE

You Know His Name

Director
Paul Greengrass

Starring
Matt Damon
Tommy Lee Jones
Alicia Vikander
Vincent Cassel



Before any sequel is undertaken, one must ask what is the reason for its existence? Is there more for this character to see, say, do, learn? Or is this just a case of someone in a suit saying “it was successful and will make money?” I mean, from a storytelling point of view, this is basic filmmaking but I think we can safely assume that money trumps all and while there is an interesting story to tell somewhere in here, it’s buried under layers of narrative mediocrity.

Twelve years after the events in The Bourne Ultimatum, ex-Treadstone operative Nicky Parsons [Julia Stiles] learns of a new wave of CIA undercover operations which heavily utilises widely circulated smart technology. Caught hacking into their records, senior CIA agent Heather Lee [Vikander] and CIA director Robert Dewey [Jones] initiate a search under the impression that Parsons may contact her former colleague, Jason Bourne [Damon]. Sure enough, Bourne is drawn back into the world of espionage as Nicky reveals his father was more involved in the Treadstone project than once believed.

Matt Damon returns in fine form as the title character, reminding us why trying to replace him with another agent (in the form of The Bourne Legacy’s Jeremy Renner) wasn’t the most viable of options as a lot of this series’ success is owed to Damon’s charm. In decent shape, compelling, emotionally driven, just as engaging as ever, this is one of those rare returns after a prolonged period wherein you can still tell it’s the same character (recent Die Hard sequels, I’m looking at you). The new additions are also a welcome touch. Tommy Lee Jones is perfect as the man you love to hate, with his craggy granddad face, sly southern charm but ultimately unscrupulous self-serving agenda. We’ve also got Alicia Vikander as the energetic, zealous operations head, Heather Lee who displays an intriguing mix of honour and ambition and the cold, vindictive assassin with a grudge in the form of the ever impressive Vincent Cassel. The film is also neatly directed, if a bit too heavy on the fucking shaky cam.. but one could argue that’s a key element of the way the Bourne films have been presented. Once again, sound design continues to be very strong, aiding the extremely fast-paced editing to form a cohesive flow and John Powell’s score hits the right notes in the right places to draw out the emotion and energy the various sequences require. So why the 2 out of 5? What I’ve just described sounds like a solid action thriller, why isn’t this reflected in my final score? In truth, it’s solely down to the fact that while the various components are capable they do nothing to elevate this film above anything more than a cash-grab.

Comparisons between the Bourne series and the James Bond franchise have been drawn pretty much from its inception. At the time of The Bourne Identity’s release, Bond was quipping his way through Die Another Day (effectively killing the franchise) and this gritty, gadget-free spy thriller was an entertaining breath of fresh air. The sequels upped the ante while delivering high-octane action and revealing more about the birth and evolution of Jason’s mysterious career. While Bond was in dire need of an overhaul, it had the range and spectrum to do so, Bourne does not. See, for the character of James Bond there will always be another mission or another book to adapt. Bourne was a rogue agent searching for personal answers and after three films how many vital questions can he have left? Cue the laughable line in almost every trailer “Knowing who you are isn’t the same as knowing everything.” So while this film is incredibly competent in its execution the justification for its release simply doesn’t hold up. As time goes on, societal motivators evolve and speculative fiction needs to adapt. In other words, if you produced a drama in the 80’s explaining that guns were banned in America after a child shot another child, your movie would look ridiculous now – as this happens fairly frequently and guess what, still no gun control. Or a 90’s film about retaliation to a terrorist attack crushing the uprising in a few days; we simply know that’s not the case. As such, this film needed to acknowledge that in the space of time between The Bourne Ultimatum and Jason Bourne, the world has evolved: things like cyber privacy, hacks, wikileaks, Snowden and the Panama papers are a regular occurrence and yet, no global change (at least, not in a way that films portray). So this begs the question, what is Bourne’s end goal here? Are we talking about a vigilante hell-bent on exposing a corrupt government body, simultaneously jeopardising any active mission or is he just a selfish individual who wants information about his own past and revenge? Either way, this hero (of sorts) is a bit of a tricky one to root for. As stated earlier, somewhere in this film is a decent story about an agent in the cold who instinctively wants to belong and serve his country but it’s so tied down by its own backstory, black ops project codenames, interchangeable evil heads of departments and double crossing that who the hell knows or cares anymore? Would we honestly watch a film about Bourne following orders and leading missions or would that fly in the face of everything we think we know about this character? Again, maybe an interesting avenue to explore but at this point, I doubt any studio would greenlight a story five films deep into a successful franchise that completely overhauls everything.

A lot of the problems stem from the fact that the Bourne trilogy, as written by Robert Ludlum was not set in a high-tech digital world. It was a spy thriller that relied on languages, abilities, skills, contacts and agents on the ground. You could get away with that in an early 2000s film but in all honesty, the world doesn’t necessarily work that way anymore; technology rules all and the world is under constant surveillance. Without the loose inspiration of the original books, we ended up with a spin-off that was completely acceptable but wholly boring, failing to expand upon anything of real worth or interest in this universe and now this unimpressive sequel. It seems fairly obvious that a lot of studios pushing nostalgia projects don’t seem to realise or appreciate why the originals were so successful in the first place. Echoing what I stated in my review for Independence Day: Resurgence, The Bourne Identity was smart, gripping and most importantly doing something unique. But being a pioneer, it inspired other studios to start buying up gritty European spy properties (and inadvertently caused Bond to reboot itself in a quasi-similar vein) and as such we saw a huge resurgence of John Le Carre adaptations. Thus Jason Bourne’s espionage and subterfuge isn’t anything new and the explosions, collisions and fist fights have become equally tired; which is an odd thing to say.

The truth is, I don’t think the Bourne setting is strong enough for a massive sprawling franchise (nor should it need to be) but it’s being pressured into conforming to that mould. Had this feature come out in 2010 I imagine it would have been more positively received but that window has passed and without creating something really cutting edge or challenging audiences in a unique way, the end product is a bit flat. Whether we’ll get another Bourne film remains to be seen but while I didn’t think there was much more they could milk out for this film, I am certain that well is now completely dry.


Release Date:
29th July 2016

The Scene To Look Out For:
From the first instalment, the Bourne series has promoted itself on a platform of plausibility and realism. Part of the reason people like these films is the thrill of seeing a man escaping a building by slowly and carefully scaling the ledge rather than just diving into an open bin and somehow surviving. Its realism makes the danger closer and the stakes higher. So imagine my disappointment during a high-speed chase where cars are colliding left-and-right and Bourne’s vehicle ends up crumpling into a casino roof but somehow he walks away without so much as a limp. Car chases are mandatory when it comes to Bourne films and yeah, the beaten up cars he gets into turn out to be indestructible tanks but when you trade up from some Soviet-looking Lada to a slick-black Mustang, you step away from the plausibility angle and ironically lose a bit of the magic.


Notable Characters:
Despite my rather scathing review, Damon still comes out on top. He returns to Bourne as if he never left, the character is just as thrilling as ever and his performance reminds us that he is the quintessential lynchpin to this series’ continuation.

Highlighted Quote:
“You don’t get it do you? Privacy is freedom”

In A Few Words:
“A lot of time, money and effort to effectively remake The Bourne Legacy with a more enigmatic lead”

Total Score:

2/5

STAR TREK BEYOND

The Frontier Pushes Back

Director
Justin Lin

Starring
Chris Pine
Zachary Quinto
Karl Urban
Zoe Saldana
Simon Pegg
John Cho
Anton Yelchin
Idris Elba
Sofia Boutella



Three years into their five year mission in deep space, Captain Kirk [Pine] is feeling a little lost, commenting that daily life trapped on the ship has become episodic (as the original series ran for three years, one could argue we are now in unchartered territory of this reboot universe and assume the contents of those missions would have taken place by now. So that malaise and fatigue is a nice place for our character to be in). After a diplomatic mission goes awry, the Enterprise and her crew resupply at a cutting-edge new Starbase called the Yorktown (which frankly looks like a hollow, unarmed Death Star). While there, Kirk discusses being reassigned and Spock [Quinto] receives news which leads him to believe he should be doing more to nurture the small community of remaining Vulcans. Before any solid conclusion can be drawn, a rescue mission is drafted and the Enterprise sets off again to assist. However, it is quickly revealed to be a trap and the ship is attacked by Krall [Elba], a mysterious alien hell-bent on securing a seemingly innocuous artefact from the Enterprise’s archival vault.

For those who may not know, JJ Abrams is not a Star Trek fan. More than that, he doesn’t like Trek at all. Subsequently his rebooted universe was dazzling, flashy and impressive but kind of missed what lies at the heart of Star Trek. There are those that believe this was for the good of the series and others who felt the action-centric redressing of the original canon was a bit of a perversion. I’m in a relatively unique position in that I agree with both. Personally, I really enjoy Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness but completely acknowledge how un-Star Trek they are. What’s more, Into Darkness created two huge problems by creating a device that can beam people from planet to planet (which frankly makes the whole ship-based exploration thing a bit moot) and resurrecting Kirk with Khan’s blood, which puts a bit of a dampener on the importance and finality of death. Subsequently, Star Trek Beyond pretty much ignores a lot of Into Darkness and brings back a lot of the core elements to what Star Trek is about and if I’m honest it both works and hinders the film as a whole. As a Trek fan I love what they’ve done here but if you were to watch all three in a back-to-back marathon the drastic shift in tone and development could easily throw you off.

Sequels very quickly stagnate if they don’t evolve. The characters need to grow or the audience will get bored of them but if they alter too much, fans won’t recognise the group and reject them; it’s a frustrating line to walk. As such, there will always be certain elements present in a Star Trek film; specifically Kirk encounters unfamiliar situations and has to decide on how to proceed based on the arguments presented by his emotional (Bones) and logical (Spock) influences. But after a while, that dynamic runs thin so for comic relief and additional support we turn to the other key crew members, namely Chekov, Scott, Uhura and Sulu, with varying degrees of success. Curiously, the hierarchy of importance draws parallels with the ‘other’ Star Trek 3, The Search For Spock: Scott is probably the most contributory character, followed by Chekov and Sulu proving themselves useful, leaving Uhura in a weird third-wheel state performing admirably with the entirely dismissive tasks she’s given. But the film at least makes an effort to break up the typical dynamic and pair up unfamiliar or unexplored combinations. The new additions fare better, in the form of protagonist Jaylah (who I will expand on in greater detail later) and antagonist Krall. Elba is very interesting as Krall but only at the end of the film. Without wanting to spoil any developments (like a lot of the social media advertising ended up doing) Krall started off as a relatively dull original villain with a rather tired and formulaic drive that developed into something genuinely interesting. And while I’ll explore that interesting development later, it does highlight one of the biggest problems with this movie.

Formula breeds tedium and blockbusters are nothing but formulaic. Really, this film boils down to the oft revisited setup of evil character needs to gather multiple artefacts to assemble a weapon which will wipe out life as we know it (usually with a sky portal over New York) and only our heroes can stop him/her/it. So from the very get-go we’re being served up something that is fairly stale, meaning the only redeeming features will be in the plan’s executions and the villain’s motivation and thankfully, by the runtime’s close, Star Trek Beyond manages to keep its head above water. But I have a bit of a gripe with this giant spacestation of theirs. Early on, the film establishes Yorktown as a beacon of Federation progress, a hub for intergalactic relations that can seemingly move around without the constraints of being fixed to any one alien race’s territory and yet it’s predominantly a bunch of white people. Something that irked me about Abrams’ first two Star Trek films is the lack of diversity in the extras. On the one hand you have films like Guardians Of The Galaxy that draws from all manner of CGI, prosthetic and colour palates to produce something that feels extremely alien. Then you have films like Star Wars which will populate specific locations with a cluster of alien races, usually each a unique race that won’t turn up again. This latest iteration of Star Trek seems to favour the latter mindset by treating us to a few rando races without a genuine alien presence for world building. In other words, your “Look at this kid! He’s got green skin and funny ears” does nothing to make me think that he belongs in this universe because he’s the only one of his kind. He could easily be a lost orphan for the amount of representation that happens here. I appreciate a lot of people will see this as really petty nit-picking but if I can count more green people than Asian people and combine every alien race and they’re all outnumbered 3 to 1 by white men, I’m going to be pissed off because this is fucking science fiction! I appreciate Earth is meant to be a huge part of the Federation but this base isn’t and I want to see aliens. More than that I want the fucking Star Trek aliens! You’ve got decades of material to work from so while I appreciate you like the cool idea of someone who looks like they have a conch for a head, throw in a goddamned Bajoran or something! Jesus!

While I didn’t have a great deal of confidence in Justin Lin, he actually managed something quite impressive. Yet there are still glaring flaws that need to be addressed. The man delivers on spectacle but admittedly not in a particularly original way. The space elements are pleasing, the interiors are nicely shot and the expository interactions are far from boring or out of place but the editing is so choppy and confused that a lot of that good work is lost. This could easily be down to poor editing work (which considering there were four editors credited, could have something to do with it) but it feels like shots were in fact missing and great narrative leaps have to be taken for the audience to get their heads around how a character got from A to B. But thankfully the sound team more than compensate for this with great effects and mixing, all of which is complimented by another nuanced and pleasing score from Michael Giacchino.

Despite these negative highlights, they are minor points and overall I really enjoyed this release. It feels like a real return to the world of exploration and discovery created by the TV series. Admittedly this might lose some of the new converts but if you’re going to add to the Star Trek universe, you might as well do it right. If a fourth release can combine the heart of this instalment with the grandeur of the other two, we’ll be on to a real winner.


Release Date:
22nd July 2016

The Scene To Look Out For:
**Major spoilers within**
One of Star Trek’s greatest achievements was to reflect the world we live in, challenging the problems of today. Want to talk about race relations? Star Trek can do it. Homosexuality, war, religious conflicts, inequality, Star Trek can address all these problems in the universe its set in without feeling overtly preachy. Where Beyond redeems itself most is the revelation of Krall’s true identity. Utilising a life-sustaining technology, Krall is in fact the product of decades of bitter resentment, gene splicing and madness and was, at one time, a Starfleet Captain named Balthazar Edison. Once this has been revealed, Kirk and Krall have a heart-to-heart confrontation wherein Krall explains he is a soldier who believes we earn our place through struggle and being born into war rather than peace he cannot stomach the idea of sitting down and breaking bread with his enemies. It’s something that’s really plagued our own existence with people to this day holding grudges from World War II against those who weren’t alive to give offence in the first place. It’s a great little development that elevates the entire film but admittedly it did feel a little TV tropey. I mean, Kirk really should have shot him with stun pulses until he stayed down, rather than waxing philosophical but what are you gonna do? People are going to monologue and others are going to take advantage of that.


Notable Characters:
Jaylah’s great. I really liked her personality, her passion and her visual look, all of which combined neatly to create a rounded character who is more than just a) a strong female character or b) a disposable side character. Wonderfully performed by Boutella, unlike Carol Marcus and her absurd “turn around” moment from Into Darkness, I would really hope Jaylah returns in future films as an active crew member. And let’s face it, for a set of characters so tightly-knit as these, that’s genuinely saying something.

Highlighted Quote:
“It is not wise to trivialise that which we do not understand. I think we can safely assume it is not a do-dad”

In A Few Words:
“A surprisingly divisive Trek release, trying to find a middle ground between all-out spectacle and the underlying message of what Star Trek stands for”

Total Score:

4/5

GHOSTBUSTERS

Answer The Call

Director
Paul Feig

Starring
Kristen Wiig
Melissa McCarthy
Kate McKinnon
Leslie Jones
Neil Casey
Chris Hemsworth



I would like to open this review with the same tone utilised in my Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles critique. The original Ghostbusters was just ok; a fun, unique film with a handful of SNL legends mucking about. It is not, however, a goddamned masterpiece, there are multiple flaws at work; to my mind, the franchise really thrived in the form of the cartoon series The Real Ghostbusters. So right from the get-go, you should all be aware that I enjoy the films but have never heralded them as the second coming. Nostalgia and infinite rewatching has warped a lot of fan’s minds into elevating these movies above and beyond their actual achievements. With that out of the way, let’s begin.

Following the re-emergence of a rather embarrassing collaborative book, scientist and lecturer Erin Gilbert [Wiig] reunites with her old colleague Abby Yates [McCarthy] and her new protégé Jillian Holtzmann [McKinnon] and is dragged into investigating the paranormal. After documenting their encounter with a ghost haunting a New York mansion, the group are ridiculed by their respective employers and the internet in general. Determined to make it work, the group form a fledgling business to hunt, capture and study ghosts. After a tip-off from subway employee Patty Tolan [Jones] the team realise that these sightings are being triggered by some unseen and clearly unstable mastermind.

Depressingly, thanks to the unspeakable backlash online (before the film was even out), a lot of pressure has been thrown onto this movie to be spectacular. More than that, it has to achieve multiple goals by embodying an entertaining and coherent narrative, meeting the expectations of a contemporary summer blockbuster and justify its existence thereby guaranteeing the future of all female led features. The first two points it excels at reasonably well but the third shouldn’t even exist. The real question here is do we need so many reboots, remakes, prequels and delayed sequels? And that’s where Ghostbusters stumbles a little. One could argue there is absolutely no need to bring back this property. People have been petitioning for a Ghostbusters III for so long, forgetting that Ghostbusters II was a painful ordeal that never lived up to the hype. Once the direct sequel was scrapped, the concept for a reboot was brought up and admittedly there aren’t a great deal of new ideas brought to the concept; outside of the apparently shocking notion of a gender switch.

Focusing on the positive for a second, Ghostbusters is a really fun film. It exhibits a wonderful mix of comedy, action and scares. Regardless of what you think of the new version of the theme song, Theodore Shapiro’s score was great, giving us an organic entity that morphed with the tonality of the film, from silly gags to genuinely unsettling tension to thrilling action set-pieces. The CGI effects were also pleasant, offering a big, bold and colourful variety that still tied in with the overall style of the established franchise. Unfortunately, the more the effects were utilised, the less I liked them but they were still more than commendable. An area where this film improves over the others is the fact that it has an actual intentional antagonist. I was always frustrated by the seemingly unprompted rise in ghost activity in the first Ghostbusters film. Thankfully, this version feels logically thought out with Rowan [Casey] being inspired by Erin and Abby’s book and actively bringing ghosts over to our plane of existence. That right there? Good writing.

And yet something feels off. As a fan of Star Trek, I had points of contention with the Trek reboot; predominantly that it was wonderful cinema but took the franchise away from the nature of the source material. In other words, JJ Abrams made Star Trek into Star Wars. Yet despite that, I still really enjoyed it and praised it highly for breathing new life into the frankly dead series. But as stated, I don’t have that affiliation with Ghostbusters and don’t feel anything here really perverted or morphed the intention of the original, so why did I walk out feeling it was ultimately good but not special? And then it hit me in the weirdest way and I had to question it multiple times because it felt so unusual: for me, the main flaw with Ghostbusters is the cinematography. I know that’s a completely balmy thing to say about a comedy but hear me out. Everything about this film is marked with Paul Feig’s distinctive style. He’s a man who puts the actors first and ensures everything is in place to capture any improvised hilarity that may ensue and it’s one of the reasons his previous films have been so well received. But in order to achieve that, the direction needs to be straight forward and everything must be lit like you’re in a studio; that means bright lights, lots of colour and big open spaces. And something about that didn’t feel right. Where the film really excelled is sections in the Aldridge Mansion basement or the subway tunnel, in fact any time events were taken out of a large, well-lit room. You may say to yourself, “Surely that’s not your actual problem, you just can’t figure it out and have settled with something petty or obscure” but if you’ve seen the film, you’ll know what I mean. Every location looks and feels like a set for television – not necessarily in the quality but in the plausibility. Which neatly summarises this next major flaw: I have no idea what kind of universe this film is set in.

If you analyse a lot of classic comedies, it is apparent that events transpire in “the real world” and the hilarity comes from the central characters being so funny compared to the bewildered or ridiculous supports. You’ll notice, it’s rare that a supporting character will get a punchline, they are mostly there as a set-up device or subject of scrutiny/ridicule. That is most certainly not the case in most of Feig’s films and as such his comedies have a drawing power that brings a lot of amazingly talented people to the table. Some would say the appeal would be Ghosbusters related but the truth is, Feig gives generously to the supporting roles and affords them the chance to be just as funny as the leads. This lack of ego elevates the comedic quantity and mostly benefits the film. Another example would be something like 21 Jump Street which is so over the top and seemingly everyone is in on the joke. This means that simple throwaway lines and walk-on parts are given to incredibly funny people and they do their best with the time allotted to them but with the sheer amount of supports and cameos, you’re taken out of the narrative, waiting for them to say or do something hilarious, like one giant Muppets movie. Which, let’s face it, when you’re hiring heavily from the SNL stable, is kind of always what you’d end up with. And with a lack of rounded supporting characters, we’re also robbed of sub-plots that leave the film feeling very narrow and insular in its scope, failing to describe or illustrate anything outside of the central plot thread.

Yet all of the above is moot; a mere explanation of why the film is brilliantly serviceable but not perfect. In spite of so many people vying for attention, the pressure is never felt on the main cast. The Ghostbusters themselves are a marvellous unit with arguably more chemistry than the original line-up. Sure, you’ve still got three scientists (the brain, the heart and the cynic) and the one black outsider but a new level of bonding has been injected that gives this eclectic mix a genuine connection and equality of worth that is often absent from these types of ensembles. Bar one. And I hate to say that but I really have to. Kristen Wiig is exceptionally funny and has given countless performances but she is completely tied down here. Acting as the straight-laced cynic, she doesn’t really have much to her character. She’s by no means awful but compared to how decently the others are fleshed out, she comes off the worst. One could argue that even Chris Hemsworth’s delightfully moronic character has more of a personality than Erin. I don’t know whether that comes down to the way the character was written of it is how Wiig chose to bring her to life but she felt the flattest of the group.

This film shouldn’t be important. As an agent of equality, I shouldn’t have to care about whether the impact of this film will affect the way movies are cast in future. As a standalone entity, devoid of history and external factors, Ghostbusters is great. It’s a captivating film that kids and adults will love. It’s far from perfect but finding big budget box office films that are is an immense challenge. Already the franchise is in a much stronger place to go forward and I would be happy to see these characters return. Just.. you know.. rein in the swell of all-too-familiar faces.


Release Date:
15th July 2016

The Scene To Look Out For:
Rather than going for a particular scene, I noticed a recurring theme throughout that highly amused me. All the men are douchebags. I can’t think of a single male character who wasn’t incompetent, pathetic or arrogant and yet remarkably didn’t feel like an attack. Case in point, we have Hemsworth as Kevin the stupid receptionist. I mean cartoonishly stupid. And Hemsworth clearly revels in it. Everything about him is so dumb but doesn’t feel nasty. The same goes for the scene wherein Erin tries to warn the mayor (portrayed by Andy Garcia) that the city needs to be evacuated and the threat should be taken seriously. She goes on to add, “Don’t be like the mayor from Jaws” at which point Garcia turns and shouts “Don’t ever compare me to the Jaws mayor!” I realise it’s a tiny moment but having a man desperately afraid of being compared to a pretty solid example of how he’s acting is really funny. And yet none of it feels like some sweeping attack on men. It’s an attack on idiots, who happen to be men.

Notable Characters:
Patty Tolan and Jillian Holtzmann. The two characters portrayed by the two actors that, when announced, most people said, “Who?” Patty serves as more than the token individual uninitiated in science and the supernatural; she’s the guide to the city, the one with the means and experience to connect the team with the people (rather than just doing the typical “and do you want to say that again for those who speak English?”). I had my reservations about Patty solely because of how she was presented in the trailer but from the very start, she’s a funny capable member of the team, feeling less like an afterthought. Holtzmann on the other hand is an irreverent scene stealer. So incredibly over-the-top it’s incredibly difficult to take your eyes off of her performance. Less a character and more a collection of quirks and oddities. Brilliant work from two very fine comedians.

Highlighted Quote:
“Well this is just a room of nightmares. Nothing to see in here”

In A Few Words:
“While failing to achieve the dizzying heights of expectation and hype, Ghostbusters is a pleasing release that delivers everything one would hope from a big-budget action-horror comedy”

Total Score:

4/5

THE LEGEND OF TARZAN

Human. Nature.

Director
David Yates

Starring
Alexander Skarsgard
Margot Robbie
Christoph Waltz
Samuel L Jackson
Djimon Hounsou



Warner Bros are having a tough time of late. After a handful of underwhelming releases, they announced they were shifting focusing to their tent-pole blockbusters and with the rights to so many great properties, the potential for a pleasing windfall is incredibly high. Unfortunately every passing feature is a multi-million dollar bore and regrettably The Legend Of Tarzan is no different.

In the late 1800s the African Congo is under the rule of the soon-to-be bankrupt King Leopold II of Belgium. In an effort to bleed as much money as possible, Leopold sends Captain Leon Rom [Waltz] to harvest all the ivory available and secure a fabled diamond mine, which will allow him control of the region. Rom carries out his duties mercilessly, amassing an army of mercenaries to enslave the population. The only thing standing in his way is an indigenous tribe led by Chief Mbonga [Hounsou] who will agree to allow passage if Rom brings him the only thing he desires: Tarzan. From there we learn that the familiar story of the feral boy raised by gorillas (who taught him to shave apparently), tamed by an adventurer’s daughter has already taken place and both Jane Porter [Robbie] and Tarzan [Skarsgard] are living peacefully in London as Lady and Lord John Clayton III, Earl of Greystoke. With a royal invitation back to the Congo, the British government presses Clayton to return home and while he initially declines, the suspicions of an American envoy [Jackson] convince him to venture back to Africa.

The most deceptive thing about this movie is the first ten minutes. Combining sombre opening title cards, Rupert Gregson-Williams’ haunting score and the realisation that this film takes place several years after Tarzan has moved to London, you start to believe this could actually be a unique and promising tale. And then everything subtly falls away and you’re dragged through a mire of uninspired tedium. The concept of taking itself seriously and telling a story about European conquest/corruption of Africa is a noble one – after all, I wouldn’t have been surprised if the project was shot with a harmless joviality to it, like another Pirates Of The Caribbean or The Lone Ranger – but these lofty ambitions fall short in their execution and what remains is an incredibly formulaic and dull dirge.

On paper (and arguably on-screen) the casting is decent and fitting but everyone falters owing to the two dimensional nature of their respective characters and winding up with very little to actually do. In truth, Skarsgard is a great Tarzan. He has the physicality of the character and a nuanced distance to his portrayal that sets him apart from everyone else. Equally, his animalistic nature is presented well without falling into the pitfalls of laughable mimes or pseudo-macho guttural murmurs. Despite all that, he’s just so bloody boring. Robbie’s portrayal of Jane is acceptable, playing feisty and defiant well but no matter how hard they try to elevate her, she’s still ends up the damsel in distress. In a way it reminded me of the overly aggressive female archetypes of the 1990’s that tried to push powerful and capable female characters (“This is the 90’s, you know” etc.) but as they were written by men they ended up at the same clichéd conclusion point. Jane offers so little to the story and no matter how much confidence, strength or knowledge of the wild they instil her with, she’s still just there to get kidnapped, be saved and make a baby. Waltz is probably the most wasted in the role of Rom. There are hints of how menacing and evil this character could be but they are never explored, which, considering how unscrupulously Europeans have conducted themselves across Africa is a weird achievement in of itself. Compared to the historical inspiration, Waltz plays a rather blasé and ineffective commander, rather than a truly dark personification of an unempathetic monster. Which brings us to Samuel L Jackson as American sharpshooter George Washington Williams; an anachronistic swaggering character whose sole narrative presence is to act as the audience’s guide to Africa. What’s that animal there? What did he just say? Where are we going? How are we going to get there? What’s the history of this place? The man is just a walking exposition hunter.

In my opinion David Yates got very lucky with Harry Potter and I don’t mean that he was given the opportunity to helm the final four films but that he achieved something epic with seemingly minimal effort and even though only a few brief trailers have been released, he seems to have accomplished the same thing again with Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them.. but that remains to be seen. The direction itself is acceptable but nothing adventurous, bar favouring a few lingering close-ups of eyes but even when the shots work well, the editing is such a sloppy mish-mash that transitional flow is often lost and you momentarily double take wondering “Where did he get that shield from?” or “Did he just die.. wait, who was that exactly?” And on top of all that, we can’t even fall back on the picturesque sprawling landscapes of Africa as the majority of the film was shot in England and therefore a great deal was accomplished with CGI. Admittedly, this can be done extremely well – as recently seen in the surprisingly wonderful The Jungle Book – but none of that realism, grace or prowess are present here.

I must confess, I never thought this film would succeed, everything about it felt like a damp squib with little new to offer. Having watched the whole two hour slog, I can confirm that there are a handful of interesting elements but the final product is extremely wanting. On the positive side, at least it didn’t have the arrogance to end on a cliff-hanger setting itself up for a presumed sequel.


Release Date:
8th July 2016

The Scene To Look Out For:
**This paragraph contains spoilers**
A classic lazy writing trope is utilising natural elements (plants, animals, rivers, etc.) to thwart villains. The reason it’s so lazy is because these wild self-serving entities know whom to harm and whom to avoid. With an army mounted at the port of Boma, Tarzan brings together lions, gorillas and.. a scoped rifle.. I guess, to drive a conveniently placed herd of wildebeest down over a hill and charge through the encampment. Due to their vast number, the mercenaries are completely overrun but we also notice that several lions are interspersed in the mix. What really annoyed me was that Tarzan somehow managed to communicate to the various beasts not to harm Jane or Williams (or the other animals come to think of it), just the bad guys with guns.

Notable Characters:
**This paragraph also contains spoilers**
Honsou is an interesting villain primarily because of the maturity of his resolve. What starts off as an almost dismissed walk-on role is given weight when it is revealed that Tarzan was responsible for killing Mbonga’s son – a retaliatory act for hunting and killing Tarzan’s adoptive mother. As stated, he becomes an interesting villain because while revenge is an easy motivator, both characters come to the tired conclusion that both have fallen prey to the nature of the wild and lost someone close to them. It’s an interesting look at harmony and acceptance of coexistence between man and animal but it’s almost immediately washed over to return to the “save the dame” storyline.

Highlighted Quote:
“Can we please just stop this!?”

In A Few Words:
“A tired, boring affair that fails to spark the spirit of adventure it so desperately tries to illustrate”

Total Score:

2/5

NOW YOU SEE ME 2

You Haven’t Seen Anything Yet

Director
Jon M Chu

Starring
Jesse Eisenberg
Mark Ruffalo
Woody Harrelson
Dave Franco
Lizzy Caplan
Daniel Radcliffe



For some reason Louis Leterrier’s 2013 magic heist film, Now You See Me, really irked me. It went on to make a fair profit but I resented seemingly everything about it. The action was average, the acting was stunted, the visual effects were pony and most importantly the script was dire; the whole thing played itself off as clever when it was little more than convoluted, flashy and hollow. The reins for the sequel have fallen to Jon M. Chu (director of a couple of Step Up features and a couple of Justin Bieber ‘films’) and he’s managed to produce something of equally forgettable standing.

Having spent a year in hiding, the members of the four horsemen, Atlas [Eisenberg], Jack [Franco] and Merritt [Harrelson] (minus Henley) are getting twitchy. Like all magicians, desperate for the limelight, they are sick of waiting in the shadows under the orders of magician/FBI agent Dylan Rhodes/Shrike [Ruffalo] acting on orders from the secret magicians order, The Eye. Dylan introduces the group to a new fourth member, Lula [Caplan] and together they plan on taking down another target, only to fall prey to an elaborate ruse, fleeing a rooftop in America and ending up in a restaurant in Macau. Learning they have been summoned by presumed deceased tech mogul Walter Mabry [Radcliffe], the horsemen are recruited to steal a chip which can hack into any computer anywhere, in exchange for their freedom. But who is working for whom and whose side is anyone really on?

I have such a bugbear with incredibly stupid films passing themselves off as smart. On top of that, I hate how magic is presented in film. To explain, I’m not talking about (and I hesitate to use these words) “real magic,” my gripe is with how cinema depicts sleight of hand illusion. Where film gets it wrong is that the magic trick itself is all that impresses people, the magician is not cool. I don’t care how famous or renowned you are, whether a gritty street magician or a kid with a ‘my first’ magic set, you are lame. Your tricks are probably entertaining but no one wants to be you, they just want to know how they were fooled. Admittedly, I would not count acts of psychological showmanship and suggestion in with that as it’s a fascinating look into the way the herd mind operates. And Now You See Me 2 lives for the idea that these magicians are adored, respected and loved world over.

Like any card trick, Now You See Me 2 follows the formula of its predecessor pretty much to the letter, in essence delivering the exact same trick and convincing you it’s somehow different. We have the same setup, the same mistrust, the same heist elements and the same twists that are about as hidden as sweat stains on a white suit. On the positive side, the score is still fittingly over-the-top and thunders at the audience as if to harmoniously shout either “SUSPENSE!” or “TA-DA!” The real difference this time round is that Mark Ruffalo’s identity is no longer a secret, so at least his bumbling feels less painful, now that we’re in on the act. Furthermore the additions of Lizzy Caplan and Daniel Radcliffe are extremely welcome. Caplan’s brand of sassy humour often outshines her colleague’s efforts and rather than being just filling an Isla Fisher-shaped hole, she actually bleeds into the dynamic (what little there is) rather well. Then there’s Radcliffe and his unique brand of grinning creepiness, giving him an unusual and unpredictable edge.

And yet it all falls apart so quickly. Just as soon as I can think of something positive to say, a great screeching monkey on my back reminds me how terrible these inclusions actually are thanks to that aforementioned piss-poor script. Caplan plays Lula with a sexual awareness and confidence that feels somewhat progressive but comes off as trite. During the planning stage of the.. well the main heist I guess.. the horsemen have to replace a gangster’s entourage who always happen to have a rotating “bimbo of the week.” Immediately, Caplan protests saying, “I wonder who gets to be the bimbo” while the rest of the cast shrug as if to say, “them’s the breaks.” Only to reveal TWIST! that the bimbo is actually a man! A man! Can you imagine!? How is Caplan going to recover now!? She thinks she’s playing an airhead but she’s actually a crazy smart scientist and Eisenberg is the bimbo, whaaat!? Well done Now You See Me 2, way to really challenge those gender-normative world views. And as much as I like Radcliffe and his performance here, it does feel a little bit like he’s in the wrong film. Somewhere between a young Bond villain and a malicious bastard (in the traditional sense of the word) from Game Of Thrones, Radcliffe’s character straight-up murders people. He happily and cheerfully has people beaten up, drowned in a locked box and thrown out of a jet at high altitude. Corrupt unscrupulous businessman or not, that’s pretty shocking stuff. Yet the film plays it off like the actions of a Scooby Doo villain, “Curses! Foiled again!”

Bafflingly, these films are still making a great deal of money and as such, I can’t see them ending any time soon. Thus, regrettably, this series will remain a hideous waste of talent for some time.


Release Date:
4th July 2016

The Scene To Look Out For:
**Massive spoiler at the end of this paragraph**
The heist to acquire the McGuffin is extremely tiresome. Making their way through the metal detector, the group mutter “the key is metal how are we going to get it out” followed by “I have no idea.” All this planning and it turns out they don’t in fact have a plan. But before they can even deal with that conundrum we are treated to a seemingly endless card handoff sequence that thinks it’s Mission: Impossible. Franco is searched down and as he is, he masterfully hides the playing card (holding the ..plastic.. thing.. that hacks all computers *sigh*) from the guard but when he runs out of space, he flicks it around the room to a fellow Horseman. This goes on ten or fifteen times and you start to wonder how thorough this search is. And the most mind-numbing aspect is that the man orchestrating the searches is a member of the Eye! Was he a plant too? Is he a distraction or.. or an insurance aspect? It’s not clever! It’s fucking lazy writing that makes no sense! It’d be like ending Star Wars by revealing that the Tuskan Raider that tried to kill Luke Skywalker was a rebel soldier all along. How does that make sense or serve the story?

Notable Characters:
One of the key pillars in the villainous cadre is Woody Harrelson playing his character’s twin brother, Chase McKinney. I don’t know whose idea it was to make Chase such a ridiculous cartoonish henchman but it’s maddeningly absurd. Everything about this character is half-arsed and uncomfortably odd, like an anime character brought to life; effeminate but vicious, surprisingly capable yet supposedly incompetent.

Highlighted Quote:
“You can’t control the grid from within the grid”

In A Few Words:
“Once again I’m forced to believe the only way to take down corrupt businessmen is with the use of stage magic and once again I hate the concept”

Total Score:

2/5

Cinema City Film Quiz #170

[03 July 2016]


Winning Team:
The Assassination Of The Blues Brothers On Stranger Tides
Genre – ’nuff said

Runners Up:
The Ringo
Genre – Terrifying Japanese horror where a cursed audio tape causes the cranky Liverpudlian to crawl from your speakers when played
Kanye Westworld
Genre – Sci-fi thriller where tourists get trapped in a theme park full of out of control robotic Kanye Wests
Cameo Toe
Genre – In the elusive middle eastern underground dance scene, access is only granted to those with the ‘code word’ (up!)
Playing The Losing Spoons
Genre – An original origin story of the original spoon players
Jumpin’ Captain Jack Flash
Genre – Keith Richards discovers his illegitimate child aboard a pirate ship
Reservoir Doggs
Genre – Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube, Eminem and RZA try and pull off a jewel heist but one of the crew is an undercover cop


ROUND I: Pre-Production
1. Ridley Scott’s A Good Year was an adaptation of which novel?
A GOOD YEAR
2. Maleficent is a prequel/remake of which Disney animated film?
SLEEPING BEAUTY
3. What was the subtitle of Star Wars: Episode II?
ATTACK OF THE CLONES
4. How many Blade films have been released to date?
THREE
5. Shaun Of The Dead is set in which city?
LONDON
6. Who directed The Adventures Of Tintin?
STEVEN SPIELBERG
7. The Road Warrior, Beyond Thunderdome and Fury Road are subtitles of instalments in which franchise?
MAD MAX
8. Which John Wayne film was remade by the Coen Brothers?
TRUE GRIT
9. Who stars in the lead role in the 1980 film, Private Benjamin?
GOLDIE HAWN
10. Michael Corleone, Tony Montana and Frank Serpico were all played by which actor?
AL PACINO


ROUND II: Filming [Musician Cameos]
1. Which member of The Rolling Stones cameoed in Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World’s End? Mick Jagger? Keith Richards? Ronnie Wood?
KEITH RICHARDS
2. In Men In Black 2, Michael Jackson makes a cameo as one of the agents. What is his character’s name? M? J? B?
M
3. Where does Robbie Hart end up meeting Billy Idol in The Wedding Singer? A karaoke bar? A plane’s first class section? The men’s toilets at a baseball game?
A PLANE’S FIRST CLASS SECTION
4. Which musician cameoed as Elvis Presley in Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story? Jack White? Dave Grohl? Kanye West?
JACK WHITE
5. Which band wrote the theme song and cameoed in Back To The Future? Huey Lewis And The News? Echo & The Bunnymen? Blondie?
HUEY LEWIS AND THE NEWS
6. Which actress does Gwen Stefani portray in The Aviator? Mae West? Fay Wray? Jean Harlow?
JEAN HARLOW
7. Who judges the pre-runway party walk off in Zoolander? Phil Collins? David Bowie? Paul McCartney?
DAVID BOWIE
8. Bruce Springsteen cameoed in which John Cusack film? Grosse Point Blank? High Fidelity? Being John Malkovich?
HIGH FIDELITY
9. Which of the following did not cameo in Crank: High Voltage? Chester Bennington (Linkin Park)? James Maynard Keenan (Tool)? Fred Durst (Limp Bizkit)?
FRED DURST (LIMP BIZKIT)
10. Alanis Morissette plays God in Dogma but she was originally cast in the lead role. True or False?
TRUE (she had to pull out because of a 1998-99 world tour)


ROUND III: Post-Production
1. Which 2009 film starred Marion Cotillard, Penelope Cruz, Judi Dench, Nicole Kidman and Sophia Loren?
NINE
2. What did Jared Hess direct after Napoleon Dynamite?
NACHO LIBRE
3. Who plays the lead role in each Resident Evil film?
MILLA JOVOVICH
4. The Iron Lady is told in flashback but set in which year?
2008
5. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is set in which country?
SWEDEN
6. The following quote is from which film, “Once you’re a parent, you’re the ghost of your children’s future”?
INTERSTELLAR
7. The following is the poster tagline for which film, “Somewhere under the sea and beyond your imagination is an adventure in fantasy”?
THE LITTLE MERMAID
8. Anastasia Steele is the lead character in which film?
FIFTY SHADES OF GREY
9. Who plays Vitaly Orlov, the younger brother of Yuri Orlov (Nicolas Cage), in Lord Of War?
JARED LETO
10. What is the name of Ryan Gosling’s character in Drive?
THE DRIVER


ROUND IV: Promotion & Release
1. What was the name of the main villain in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers The Movie? Master Vile? Ivan Ooze? Scorpina?
IVAN OOZE
2. Who appeared in Sullivan’s Travels, This Gun For Hire, The Blue Dahlia and I Married A Witch? Veronica Lake? Ava Gardner? Mary Astor?
VERONICA LAKE
3. What is the nickname for British Intelligence in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy? The Board? The Club? The Circus?
THE CIRCUS
4. Who played the role of Tars Tarkas in Andrew Stanton’s John Carter? Hugh Laurie? Willem Dafoe? Michael Keaton?
WILLEM DAFOE
5. The Grey was released in which year? 2009? 2010? 2011?
2011
6. What is the title of the film in which Tobey Maguire and Reese Witherspoon are transported into a 50’s TV show? Pleasantville? Meet The Parkers? A Life In Black And White?
PLEASANTVILLE
7. Which of the following was not directed by George Clooney? The Ides Of March? Leatherheads? The American?
THE AMERICAN
8. The following quote is from which film, “Isn’t it enough that you’ve gathered every other man’s heart today? You’ve always had mine; you cut your teeth on it”? An Affair To Remember? From Here To Eternity? Gone With The Wind?
GONE WITH THE WIND
9. Who played the lead role in 2009 subversive science fiction Cold Souls? Paul Giamatti? Kevin Spacey? Ryan Reynolds?
PAUL GIAMATTI
10. Every film starring Mel Gibson has to feature a dog as part of the actor’s contract. True or False?
FALSE


BOUNS IMAGE ROUND
Screenshots: Alien / Ghostbusters II / Avatar
Poster: Dave
Actor: Sigourney Weaver