Cinema City Film Quiz #195

[30 July 2017]


Winning Team:
Zowie Bowie TOWIE Rowie Showie
Genre – Duncan Jones Essex-based rowing extravaganza

Runners Up:
Lunar Horde Code
Genre – A dismembered orc deciphers the code explaining the horde’s lunar origin
Duncan Jones And The Duncan Jones Clones
Genre – Duncan Jones and the Duncan Jones clones clones
Source Chode
Genre – Biopic


ROUND I: Pre-Production
1. Who did Julia Roberts portray in Erin Brokovich?
ERIN BROKOVICH
2. Mad Max is set in which country?
AUSTRALIA
3. The Disney princess Ariel appears in which film?
THE LITTLE MERMAID
4. Dustin Hoffman, Jason Isaacs, Ian McShane and Garrett Hedlund have all played which pirate?
CAPTAIN JAMES HOOK
5. Who played the titular role in Danny Boyle’s Steve Jobs?
MICHAEL FASSBENDER
6. American Spy, David Webb, played by Matt Damon, is known by which alias?
JASON BOURNE
7. What was the full title of third Hobbit film?
THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES
8. Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper play bikers accompanied by Jack Nicholson in which film?
EASY RIDER
9. Who starred in Sleepless In Seattle, When Harry Met Sally and City Of Angels?
MEG RYAN
10. What is the title of the first Rambo film?
FIRST BLOOD


ROUND II: Filming [Duncan Jones Special]
1. Who will be directing the upcoming release, Mute? Terence Malik? Lars Von Trier? Duncan Jones?
DUNCAN JONES
2. Moon was released in which year? 2007? 2009? 2011?
2009
3. What was the main poster tagline for Source Code? Make Every Second Count? Crack The Code? Relive The Day, Solve The Mystery?
MAKE EVERY SECOND COUNT
4. Which of the following actors did not appear in Warcraft? Glenn Close? Jude Law? Clancy Brown?
JUDE LAW
5. What is the name of the robot in Moon, voiced by Kevin Spacey? SIMON? WYSIWYG? GERTY?
GERTY
6. What was Source Code’s budget? $32 million? $58 million? $92 million?
THIRTY TWO MILLION DOLLARS
7. What is the name of the Orc homeworld in Warcraft? Dramator? Dranger? Draenor?
DRAENOR
8. The four harvesters in Moon are named after what? The gospels? The Beatles? Compass directions?
THE FOUR GOSPELS
9. Despite being set in Chicago, the majority of Source Code was shot in which country? Germany? Canada? China?
CANADA
10. Warcraft was supposed to be released in December 2015 but was pushed back to May 2016 to coincide with the twentieth anniversary of the original Warcraft video game release. True or False?
FALSE (it was pushed back to avoid clashing with Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens)


ROUND III: Post-Production
1. Litwak’s Family Fun Center is a video game arcade that features in which film?
WRECK IT RALPH
2. What did Mel Brooks direct in between The Twelve Chairs and Young Frankenstein?
BLAZING SADDLES
3. Something Has Found Us was the poster tagline for which 2008 film?
CLOVERFIELD
4. Nicolas Cage, Aaron Johnson, Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Chloe Grace Moretz starred in which film?
KICK ASS
5. Who directed Garden State?
ZACH BRAFF
6. Which word game features heavily in The Machinist?
HANGMAN
7. The following quote is from which film, “He is very brave and very wise, that’s why he is known as the great prince of the forest”?
BAMBI
8. Dr King Schultz, Calvin J Candie, Stephen and Spencer “Big Daddy” Bennett are characters in which film?
DJANGO UNCHAINED
9. What disorder does Sarah (played by Kristen Stewart) suffer from in Panic Room?
DIABETES
10. What is Scott Pilgrim’s full title?
SCOTT PILGRIM VS THE WORLD


ROUND IV: Promotion & Release
1. The Mind Stone (one of the infinity stones) first appeared in which Marvel film? Thor? The Avengers? Doctor Strange?
THE AVENGERS
2. In Midnight Special, Roy, Lucas and Alton are trying to get from Texas to which state? California? Florida? Maine?
FLORIDA
3. What is Sung Tse-Ho’s main responsibility for the triad in A Better Tomorrow? Printing counterfeit US notes? Trading drugs for munitions with the military? Running a triad-controlled brothel?
PRINTING COUNTERFEIT US NOTES
4. The majority of Spotlight is set in 2001, what year is the prologue set in? 1964? 1976? 1981?
1976
5. What does Evan use to travel back in time, in The Butterfly Effect? Alcohol? His journals? His childhood bicycle?
HIS JOURNALS
6. The following quote is from which film, “I’m not gonna kill you, I want you to do me a favour. I want you to tell all your friends about me”? Batman? Batman Begins? Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice?
BATMAN
7. The following is the poster tagline for which film, “There have been many courtroom dramas that have glorified the great American legal system. This is not one of them”? My Cousin Vinny? The Verdict? Liar Liar?
MY COUSIN VINNY
8. The Bridges Of Madison County was released in which year? 1986? 1995? 2002?
1995
9. Which of the following did not feature Tom Hanks? The Great Buck Howard? The Portrait Of A Lady? A Hologram For The King?
THE PORTRAIT OF A LADY
10. Director Gareth Edwards has a cameo in Rogue One as the Rebel soldier pulling the level that releases the Tantive IV. True or False?
TRUE


BOUNS IMAGE ROUND
Screenshots: Armageddon / Night At The Museum 2: Battle Of The Smithsonian / Cars / The Grand Budapest Hotel
Poster: Shanghai Knights
Actor: Owen Wilson


DUNKIRK

When 400,000 Men Couldn’t Get Home. Home Came To Them.

Director
Christopher Nolan

Starring
Fionn Whitehead
Mark Rylance
Tom Hardy



The D-Day landings are extremely well known to modern audiences thanks to works like Saving Private Ryan and a host of video games. The battle of Dunkirk, however, is less well-known outside of Britain. Before the German occupied beaches of Normandy could be stormed, the British forces withdrew from mainland Europe, leaving the French to hold off the Nazi invaders before retreating to southern France. To this day it remains a point of friction and shame between Britain and France, like an regurgitated quarrel between lovers. Subsequently, it has been referenced a fair few times but rarely depicted with such sharp focus.

The story is very interestingly divided into three separate elements covering land, sea and air. The land section covers the four hundred thousand British troops stranded on the beach, waiting for evacuation and takes place over the course of a week. From the very outset we follow Tommy [Whitehead], a young British soldier as he does whatever it takes to get aboard a ship bound for England. With very little dialogue, introductions or exposition, the majority of his story cycles through a host of faces and an array of failed attempts to escape. The second segment introduces a civilian contingent of vessels, mobilised by the navy and details the day-long trip to and from French shores. The only sailor we really get to know is Mr. Dawson [Rylance], a weekend sailor with his son and friend. Their story largely takes place away from the beach and mostly in the British Channel as they try to save men from downed ships. The third element depicts the hour-long air-battle as a spitfire squadron provide cover for the passing ships and men on the beach. In order to maintain tension, all of these events are rather cleverly depicted simultaneously, in a broken narrative that bounces back and forth between the respective timelines.

If anything, Dunkirk is expertly constructed and magnificently paced. A perspective-heavy tale of desperation and resolve, evenly divided between land, air and sea with no false heroics or oversentimentality, just a very frank, unglorified tale of humiliation and shame paraded honestly. This is where Dunkirk really shines. The politics are irrelevant, the who and the why of these men are irrelevant, all that matters is if they will survive. In this regard, it’s a very candid look at war, where men are neither heroes nor cowards, they are simply human and the consequences of their actions will be carried with them for the rest of their lives. A lot of this comes from the emotionally yet surprisingly distant acting. Most of the roles are devoid of bombastic personality or distinctive features, favouring simple blank canvases for the audience to project onto. Paired with bleak, haunting visuals and absolutely superb and terrifying sound design, it’s very easy to immerse yourself in this replicated world. I will also admit that Hans Zimmer’s score is skin-crawlingly tense but at times wasn’t sure if he was the most appropriate choice for composer. Competent and fitting but does not mirror the bold nature of the visual storytelling structure.

But while it’s easy to praise this film for its surface level achievements, something feels profoundly off about the whole feature. Watching a classic like The Longest Day there is a moment where Sean Connery’s character arrives on the beach and shouts, “Come on out you dirty slobs! Flanagan’s back!” No one needed to explain the significance of this to a 1962 audience because the Second World War was still very fresh in the public’s memory. But for a 2017 audience, certain events and where they take place on a timeline of events can be disorientating. While the film should be commended for not deviating from the battle to form a wider picture, a lot of the placement is lost; this is made doubly disorientating when cutting back between shots taking place in the middle of the night and those taking place in broad daylight with the only thing linking the timing of the two being the brief presence of Cillian Murphy’s character in both. On top of that, the insistence of telling a contained snapshot ensures a vague lack of close or climax as we are aware the war rolls on for several years after these events. The victory is a hollow one. But is this enough to label this movie as bad? No. Oddly, despite being a very well made film, I still didn’t like it. I didn’t like the fleeting representation of the French, nor did I care for the nigglingly sterility of the combat or somewhat repetitive nature and that lack of closure. But in spite of all that Dunkirk’s honesty wins you over. In a time when certain western countries are choking on nationalistic nonsense, this is a brutally straightforward portrayal of human survival without weighing itself down with scope, politics or far-reaching fallout. The only thing that matters is getting off that beach alive and in bringing that representation to a contemporary audience, this film performs marvellously. But that’s assuming you can overlook the minor frustrations and are not taken in by the hype that this is “the greatest war film ever made” because, frankly, it isn’t.


Release Date:
21st July 2017

The Scene To Look Out For:
Without a doubt there are many defining moments in this film – almost to its detriment in that you end up with a loosely connected series of vignettes. The one that sticks with me is the torpedo attack on a British naval destroyer. The speed and chaos of the engagement is such that it’s over as soon as it starts and the panic is truly horrifying.

Notable Characters:
As stated previously, the performances are very functional and subdued. No one gets overly emotional and death is commonplace. There is a beautiful malaise that washes over the soldiers and robs them of extreme highs or lows. Of course there are moments of erratic panic and shouting but they are never what one would expect from a war film. Too often we have time for eloquent monologues, cursed screams at the sky or noble sacrifices but none of that exists here, there are just unnamed men who form little connection with one another – acutely aware that the person beside them may be dead in the next few minutes. The use of unknowns is brilliantly done and the majority of the cast perform with such harmony that no one really stands out above anyone else. This is probably one of the biggest compliments I can pay this film. From newcomers to veterans, nobody chews the scenery or stands out as inadequate and no one pushes to the fore demanding the spotlight. Subsequently, this is an ensemble highlight and before anyone points out Harry Styles’ presence is in this film, I would suggest you re-read what I’ve just written because that goes for him too.

Highlighted Quote:
“Survival’s not fair”

In A Few Words:
“A wonderfully crafted portrayal of war, if a little overhyped”

Total Score:

4/5

Cinema City Film Quiz #194

[16 July 2017]


Winning Team:
Entrap Dent In A Tent Meant For Kent
Genre – Batman rescues a kryptonite weakened Clark Kent from a tent and puts Harvey Dent in after he has a tantrum after finding out the 39 year age gap between Catherine Zeta-Jones and Sean Connery

Runners Up:
The Life Geriatric With Michael Douglas
Genre – Catherine Zeta-Jones looks after an ageing Douglas who is obsessed with finding a Jaguar Shark… which turns out to be dementia


ROUND I: Pre-Production
1. In which Paul Feig film does Maya Rudolph play a bride-to-be with Kristen Wiig and Rose Byrne playing her bridesmaids?
BRIDESMAIDS
2. Minions first appeared in which film?
DESPICABLE ME
3. Who plays the lead role in the Mission Impossible franchise?
TOM CRUISE
4. Who directed Armageddon?
MICHAEL BAY
5. The Austin Powers films are parodies of which genre or type of film?
SPY / BOND FILMS
6. Which two actors played the lead roles in 21 Jump Street? (one point per correct answer)
CHANNING TATUM / JONAH HILL
7. Which Disney animated film is set in the fictional city of San Fransokyo?
BIG HERO 6
8. Mrs Doubtfire was released in which year?
1993
9. Roland Emmerich’s Anonymous is about which British playwright?
WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE
10. What is the name of the Lord who rules over Duloc in Shrek? [bonus point for naming the actor who played him]
LORD FARQUAAD [John Lithgow]


ROUND II: Filming [Age Gap Special]
1. The following is the poster tagline for which film, “This is Harold, fully equipped to deal with life. This is Maude, Harold’s girlfriend”? Braveheart? Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince? Harold and Maude?
HAROLD AND MAUDE
2. Who played the lead role in Venus? Michael Caine? Peter O’Toole? Richard Harris?
PETER O’TOOLE
3. Who directed 1962’s Lolita? Mike Nichols? Stanley Kramer? Stanley Kubrick? [bonus point for naming the director of the 1997 remake]
STANLEY KUBRICK [Adrian Lyne]
4. Entrapment was released in which year? 1995? 1997? 1999?
1999
5. What is Charlotte’s husband’s job in Lost In Translation? Photographer? Journalist? Film director?
PHOTOGRAPHER
6. What is the title of the film about a fashion journalist and a crotchety pilot who crash land on a deserted island, starring Anne Heche and Harrison Ford respectively? Random Hearts? Six Days, Seven Nights? Frantic?
SIX DAYS, SEVEN NIGHTS
7. Colin Firth portrays which Dutch painter in Girl With The Pearl Earring? Paulus Potter? Johannes Vermeer? Rembrandt Harmenszoon Van Rijn?
JOHANNES VERMEER
8. What does Joe discover at the New Year’s Eve party in Sunset Boulevard? Everyone present is being paid to attend? The dress code is extremely formal and he arrives in a regular suit? He was the only guest invited?
HE WAS THE ONLY GUEST INVITED
9. Who was the original choice for the Grail Knight in Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade? Alec Guinness? Laurence Olivier? John Gielgud?
LAURENCE OLIVIER
10. The remake of Oldboy opens as “a Spike Lee film” rather than “a Spike Lee joint” because the studio cut over half an hour of developmental material and Lee felt this was no longer his feature. True or False?
TRUE


ROUND III: Post-Production
1. What is the following line of A Whole New World in Aladdin: “I can show you the world, shining, shimmering, splendid”?
TELL ME PRINCESS, NOW WHEN DID YOU LAST LET YOUR HEART DECIDE
2. At what event is the nuclear device detonated in 2002’s The Sum Of All Fears?
AT A BASEBALL GAME
3. How many members make up the group NWA in Straight Outta Compton?
FIVE (Eazy-E, Ice Cube, Dr Dre, MC Ren, DJ Yella)
4. Which film starred Charlton Heston, Janet Leigh, Marlene Dietrich, Orson Welles and Zsa Zsa Gabor?
TOUCH OF EVIL
5. Bill Murray plays Bosley in Charlie’s Angels. Who plays Bosley in Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle?
BERNIE MAC
6. What instrument does Captain Janek play in Prometheus?
ACCORDION
7. Martin Scorsese’s Hugo tells the story of which French director?
GEORGES MELIES
8. The following quote is from which film, “It’s so sad because it’s so hard to make her understand. I’ve gotten all these things for her and now she just.. wants to run away”?
THE GREAT GATSBY
9. What is the name of the invading alien forces in The Avengers?
CHITAURI
10. What is the full title of Alejandro G Inarritu’s Birdman?
BIRDMAN OR (THE UNEXPECTED VIRTUE OF IGNORANCE)


ROUND IV: Promotion & Release
1. Which film featured Tilda Swinton, Djmon Hounsou, Rachel Weisz and Keanu Reeves? Johnny Mnemonic? Constantine? Street Kings?
CONSTANTINE
2. Who voice the Axiom’s computer in Wall-E? Sigourney Weaver? Betty White? Jon Hamm?
SIGOURNEY WEAVER
3. Which film did Kevin Smith direct in between Mallrats and Dogma? Cop Out? Jersey Girl? Chasing Amy?
CHASING AMY
4. Steel Magnolias was released in which year? 1987? 1988? 1989?
1989
5. How many Oscars was Driving Miss Daisy nominated for? 6? 9? 12? [bonus point for naming how many it won]
NINE [Four]
6. What is the name of Zissou’s research vessel in The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou? Belafonte? Calypso? Explorer?
BELAFONTE
7. What is the name of the character played by Dustin Hoffman in The Graduate? Raymond Babbitt? Carl Bernstein? Benjamin Braddock?
BENJAMIN BRADDOCK
8. Mean Machine, starring Vinnie Jones, is a remake of which American film? Rudy? Gridiron Gang? The Longest Yard?
THE LONGEST YARD (although this was later dubbed The Mean Machine too)
9. Which of the following is the only species with on-screen female characters in the original Planet Of The Apes? Chimpanzees? Orang-utans? Gorillas?
CHIMPANZEES
10. Godzilla was originally storyboarded to look like an octopus. True or False?
TRUE (before Tomoyuki Tanaka decided a dinosaur look would be better)


BOUNS IMAGE ROUND
Screenshots: Chaplin / My Cousin Vinny / Wild Hogs / Crazy, Stupid, Love
Poster: The Wild Thornberrys Movie
Actor: Marisa Tomei


WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES

For Freedom. For Family. For The Planet.

Director
Matt Reeves

Starring
Andy Serkis
Woody Harrelson
Karin Konoval
Amiah Miller



A good fifteen years ago, the concept of a sequel surpassing its predecessor was something of a rarity. Then films like Toy Story 3 and Captain America: The Winter Soldier started to emerge and it became evident that sequels don’t have to be cheap add-ons, they can be deep continuations of a particular journey. But what the Planet Of The Apes prequels have managed to do is particularly unique in that they have started off with a surprising foundation and built on it to produce one of the finest, most emotionally rewarding film trilogies that genuinely represents all oppressed peoples.

Following the events of Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes, the human forces have become increasingly desperate giving rise to a militant force called Alpha Omega, led by the mysterious but determined Colonel McCullough [Harrelson]. The colonel orders an all-out offensive to eradicate the ape forces, with the assistance of desperate and fearful apes who are dubbed “donkey” to distinguish them from the opposing force. Despite the fact most humans believe the enigmatic ape leader Caesar [Serkis] is dead, he reveals himself very much alive and wants only to end the war. This message is ignored and an attack on Caesar’s home leads him to resolve that they need to migrate across a vast desert to safety. But not before Caesar tracks down the Colonel and reaps revenge. Accompanied by a small unit of loyal followers, Caesar encounters a mute girl, Nova [Miller], who is entering the next stage of the disease’s effect prompting the orang-utan Maurice [Konoval] to take her under his wing, arguing that she will die alone.

Anyone can start a story but few know how to end it – and while I fully expect another (maybe lesser) Apes film to rear its head eventually and will openly acknowledge that the 1968 original is technically the next film in the sequence, this single character arc is one of the most satisfying and rounded serial conclusions I’ve watched; taking simple, contained, narrative-driven stories and making us perversely invest in the obliteration of our own species. Curiously, the root of this success is Matt Reeves himself, who is living proof of the things you can accomplish when you put passionate people in charge of IP projects. From the subtle parallels with the original film such as the whipping, scarecrow crucifixes and Michael Giacchino’s tribal score to the continuation of themes and internal conflicts from the first two films, this bridge evokes a real sense of familial belonging and transition.

The further we delve into these prequels the more we step away from humanity as a force for good; as fear and hatred take over, no longer are the noble individuals the majority. No more is that evident than in this instalment which portrays the majority of the survivors as hot headed, destructive and steadfast in the confidence of their actions, rather than just a rogue handful. Which, of course, is the logical conclusion for these prequels; in order to have some sort of pleasing conclusion, the audience need to feel somewhat uplifted and we can’t be doing that if our on-screen manifestation is destroyed.. unless, through a process of transference, we sympathise or heavily identify with the qualities of the apes and come to the drawn conclusion that mankind deserves to be wiped out. But in order to do that, we require a mean son-of-a-bitch for a bad guy but one who still retains some semblance of integrity so we respect him as an adversary. Harrelson’s Colonel McCullough does that in the best way, mirroring performances like Pharaoh and Colonel Kurtz; this is a man who believes so clearly in his righteousness, that he is willing to sacrifice everything to protect that concept. The irony of all this is that the detainment centre that the Colonel oversees is brought to life with animalistic roars and acts of barbarism from the soldiers. The only real hope for humanity comes in the form of a simple, caring girl named Nova who is struck by the next stage of this disease but retains her better nature despite the inability to speak, highlighting the softer side and potential for good that exists within us. On the other side, we have the apes. Caesar has evolved from his humble origins and is now a revolutionary of mythic proportions to both sides of the conflict and yet, at his centre, he simply wants to be left alone to thrive. On a deeper level, Caesar is haunted by the actions of his friend-turned-rival Koba illustrating an internal conflict that all great leaders struggle with – the burden of office and the fallout of the decisions made for the greater good. Maurice continues to be a mainstay powerhouse of reason and emotion, as does Rocket, elevating the characters from their simple beginnings as “the orang-utan one and the one that used to run the enclosure that beat up Caesar” from the first film. Watching this release, there’s a distinct link between something like The Ten Commandments, pitting two forces against one another and how the destruction of one is not the direct fault of the other. Equally, it imbues legendary and mythical status on its lead, transforming Caesar into a character which would be revered as an almost godlike being to those whom he liberated. What I’m trying to get at here is that none of this would be possible if it weren’t for the incredibly clever script and superb combination of live-action performances and digital artwork, which allow you to forget that none of this is real.

The film is, however, not perfect but the flaws are so minuscule that they can be quite easily dismissed. For example, the human characters aren’t as developed as the ape characters, bar a few select individuals and there is a questionable amount of peripheral sign language reading. But in light of what has been accomplished, these are arguably petty observations.

All I can do to summarise is rinse and repeat what I’ve already said earlier in this review in throughout the bulk of my Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes review: this is a truly impressive achievement with visually stunning imagery and absolutely gut-wrenching performances at its core. The direction, editing, writing and cinematography are working in harmony and produce a tale which cuts through you in a way that a) only science fiction can and b) no one would expect a Planet Of The Apes prequel could.


Release Date:
14th July 2017

The Scene To Look Out For:
**Spoilers within**
I have two scenes to highlight today, for very different reasons. The first is the frustrations shared between Bad Ape, Maurice, Rocket and Nova who communicate with a mixture of broken sign language, English and gestures. On the one hand you have Nova who understands but has trouble conveying anything, Maurice and Rocket who communicate with sign language and Bad Ape who can only speak English. It’s a wonderful illustration and example of how “people” with a common goal can overcome an inability to express themselves without confusion and produce a common dialogue. The second thing to highlight is the character arc of Red the donkey and Preacher. Preacher is spared by Caesar in an attempt to show the humans that they are not savages. While Preacher experiences some sort of struggle, he still chooses to turn his weapon on Caesar by the end of the film. Whereas Red, the gorilla who has conspired with the humans and acted as Caesar’s direct torturer, chooses to intervene and save Caesar’s life at the expense of his own. Showing a human character as irredeemable but an ape that can reform and atone is a bold move but one that this release does masterfully.

Notable Characters:
Steve Zahn’s appearance as Bad Ape offers a lot of levity that has been missing from these films. Endearing, innocent and funny, he brings a sense of amusement that Dawn in particular did not have and with all the darkness and finality of the narrative, this light touch is exactly what was needed, without ever veering too much into farce or stupidity.

Highlighted Quote:
“Even in his primitive gaze, I felt love… I pulled the trigger. It purified me”

In A Few Words:
“An astounding achievement and one which ensures the legacy of this Planet Of The Apes prequel trilogy may surpass even the original feature”

Total Score:

5/5

SPIDER-MAN HOMECOMING

Swinging Into Action This Summer

Director
Jon Watts

Starring
Tom Holland
Michael Keaton
Robert Downey Jnr



After the battle of New York depicted in The Avengers, demolition contractor Adrian Toomes [Keaton] invests a great deal of money to restore the city to a working state. Thanks to Tony Stark [Downey Jnr] “giving back to the people,” Toomes loses his contract when a private company turn up to safely dispose of the debris. Bitter about being shunned and losing out when the men he’s hired need work the most, Toomes decides to establish an illegal organisation, salvaging elements from various superhero battles and repurposing them to be sold on the black market. Several years later, we are given a brief re-treading of the events of Captain America: Civil War from Peter Parker’s [Holland] aka Spider-Man’s perspective, before detailing the life and exploits of the frustrated teenager who wants nothing more than to help people and impress his idol Tony Stark. Despite operating under the radar for so long, Peter stumbles across Toomes’ operation when more and more elaborate tools and weapons make their way to his neighbourhood and the two find themselves becoming entangled in each other’s affairs.

Much like Spider-Man 2, one of the huge contributory factors to this film’s success is the strength of the lead hero and villain. On the one hand, we finally have a great Peter Parker/Spidey combo performance that embodies not only the core values and principles of the character but genuinely feels like pretty much every iteration in the comics boiled down to one compelling portrayal. Altruistic, honourable and ultimately very real, there’s something relatable to this young man’s struggle but most importantly the film doesn’t forget that Parker is essentially still a boy and showing him weak, afraid and emotionally vulnerable was an incredibly wise move. Additionally, having the good sense to step away from the origin and regurgitate lines about “great power and great responsibility,” also frees up a lot of time to actually explore this individual as a human being rather than a list of powers or rehash of old territory. On the other side we have a truly threatening and interesting villain, who is equally strangely relatable, in the form of Toomes/the Vulture. Keaton perfectly draws on a sense of embittered abandonment that many people have felt over the last decade, left behind by governments, society and in this case, heroes. One of Marvel’s greatest drawbacks is the lack of development and disposability of its villains but Keaton brings a malevolence and self-deceit that combines to create some sort of justification for his actions. We also have a handful of really funny grab-bag fellow classmates that feel real to the extent that we’re not utterly traumatised by the bullying nor frowning at the apparent age issues of people pushing thirty acting half their age. I’d say Aunt May could have had a bit more of a presence but this version is far from poor, if anything I’ve never liked the idea that a fifteen year old’s aunt needs to be well into her 80’s and a frail physical manifestation of the bloody 1950s. Having said that, she’s still underused. Last thing I’ll say is that Tony Stark is the fucking worst. Setting aside how cool it is that Spider-Man featured in Civil War, a fifty year old man recruiting a teenager to a fight is frankly insane and then to go one step further and force lessons on him like an absentee father is astonishing. I mean, the film openly acknowledges that Stark has no idea how to be a parent or mentor and defaults to acting like his own father, not to mention Peter actively saying nothing bad would have happened if Stark had just listened to him in the first place (a staple of all decent kid/teenager stories)… but still, more evidence is a spoilt man-baby and terrible human being. One last point about the characters before moving on, I get the feeling this series will make the same mistake of having so many people knowing or discovering Peter’s secret identity. No matter how clever, it weakens the point of the secret identity in the first place but that remains to be seen.

The first and most noticeable difference between this film and other Spider-Man films – even other Marvel films – is the tone. After over a decade of dark and gritty post-9/11 releases we’re getting back to the stage where these stories can have a serious focus but still feel quintessentially bright and fun. More so than that, there is a distinct separation from the other Marvel films by keeping the narrative centred on the life and priorities of a child. As with the comics, so many kids watch these superhero films and think, “I want to be like Thor or Batman” but Spider-Man has the unique ability to prompt kids to think, “That is me!” in a Harry Potter sort of way. Subsequently what we end up with is a refreshingly kid/family friendly film with legitimate street-level superhero antics that doesn’t talk down to kids or ostracise adults. The best embodiment of this John Hughes-esque attitude is when Spider-Man interrogates a criminal, played by Donald Glover, which illustrates the teen’s innocence, naivety and eagerness to prove himself.

One can’t watch contemporary franchise features without questioning or at least addressing the big picture; in this case, the MCU at large. Much like Ant-Man this film exists on the peripheral to the main releases without being so far disconnected that it feels like the various TV series. This affords it the opportunity to revel in a very different setting with very different stakes. For an audience, this is the breath of fresh air or palate cleanser that one needs amid the heady galactic escapades and dour political machinations of the other stories but Sony’s track record and ridiculous plans thus far feel like this could be a great launch that continually flounders without the heavy guiding hand of Marvel. Hopefully that won’t be the case and the established foundations will be enough to build an exciting set of releases around but with the film closing on dialogue about groups of villains teaming up to combat the menace of Spider-Man, it would be all too easy to fall into old habits.

Initially I walked out of the cinema feeling like this was a 3/5 due to some glaring issue that I couldn’t quite put my finger on; the story was good, the acting was great, the technical aspects were more than competent. I wrestled with what it might be before realising that the biggest problems are things that the narrative isn’t directly responsible for; specifically the spoiler-happy marketing and the weight of the Spider-Man movies that came before it. Marketing is and has always been an unfortunate necessity and it seems the more prominent a release, the lazier and safer the marketing becomes. This means the trailers give away all the key developments and the best shots while the posters are insultingly poor collages of brandable material without any consideration for composition, pleasing aesthetic or creativity. But again, that’s not the fault of the film. There’s also the fact that this is the sixth Spider-Man feature released in this century and so much has been covered that whenever things deviate or feel missing they become irksome. No mention of the words “Uncle Ben,” no Daily Bugle, no Gwen Stacey or Mary Jane Watson, some will like this version of May, some won’t. What we end up with is the X-Men problem. There have been so many little changes and variations over the years that you can’t help but feel something is missing or at least sense a distraction; key components that worked better in previous releases or are improved upon here. But once again, that’s not the fault of the film. All in all, this is a great release and a very enjoyable superhero adventure that fills the gap left in a lot of contemporary superhero films, i.e. patrolling the streets and saving people. Where the franchise goes from here, who knows but as it stands, fans will be hard-pressed to slate this film.. although, admittedly, they’ve had more than enough chances to get it right so that’s not really saying much.


Release Date:
7th July 2017

The Scene To Look Out For:
Not since 2002’s Spider-Man have we seen a Spider-Man film about the titular character continuously having fun with his self-imposed calling. The best example of this takes place in the early scenes which detail Peter’s extracurricular stint performing services for the citizens of his borough. He zips around the city stopping petty criminal acts but the most amusing part is when he interrupts a carjacking, setting off the car’s alarm. Before leaving the individual explains that it’s his car and Peter nervously apologises but is suddenly beset by several neighbours who chastise the hero for various reasons, reiterating that the individual owns the car. It’s chaotic, funny and very indicative of city life which has been missing from these films.

Notable Characters:
Peter’s suit having unlockable abilities made a great deal of sense and was used wonderfully. One of the key components to this is the introduction of KAREN, a JARVIS-esque artificial intelligence that adds a lot of levity and gives someone for Peter to quip to and talk about his problems with, without resorting to excessive monologuing or an unnecessarily sprawling wave of confidents. The hiring of Jennifer Connelly, the wife of the voice of the voice of JARVIS was also particularly amusing and logical; not to mention the fact that Connelly gives a wonderful rendition of such a simplistic role.

Highlighted Quote:
“Thank you Captain. I’m pretty sure he’s a war criminal now.. but whatever, the state says I have to show you these videos”

In A Few Words:
“A fun, breezy feature that finally gives younger generations a hero they can genuinely relate to as well as aspire to”

Total Score:

4/5

Cinema City Film Quiz #193

[02 July 2017]


Winning Team:
Red Dawn Retaliation In The Woods
Genre – Chris Hemsworth arrives late for his career

Runners Up:
Baby Drive
Genre – In this thrilling sequel to Drive, Ryan Gosling faces his toughest challenge yet, driving a pre-school bus
Transformers: Age Of Ejaculation
Genre – Mankind stands in awe of giant robots that experience orgasm for 1000 years straight
Development Hell Boy… With Sexy Results
Genre – 80’s movie in which Kim DELAYney and DEFER Sutherland set up a paranormal investigation service
The Bookhouse Boys
Genre – Mystery


ROUND I: Pre-Production
1. What is the name of the fictional film used as a cover to save American diplomats in Argo?
ARGO
2. Les Miserables is largely set in which French city?
PARIS
3. Daryl Hannah plays which mythical creature in Splash?
MERMAID
4. Which Steven Soderbergh film stars George Clooney and Jennifer Lopez as a bank robber and US Marshal respectively?
OUT OF SIGHT
5. Philoctetes, Megara, Amphitryon and Alcmene are characters from which Disney film?
HERCULES
6. Ray Liotta played the lead role in which 1990 Martin Scorsese film?
GOODFELLAS
7. Catch Me If You Can was released in which year?
2002
8. Who directed The Darjeeling Limited?
WES ANDERSON
9. Leonardo Di Caprio played Jordan Belfort in which film?
THE WOLF OF WALL STREET
10. What colour is the scorpion on Ryan Gosling’s jacket in Drive?
GOLD / YELLOW


ROUND II: Filming [Films Held Back From Release Special]
1. Titanic was released in which year? 1997? 1999? 2001?
1997
2. Who directed Phone Booth? Peter Berg? Paul Verhoeven? Joel Schumacher?
JOEL SCHUMACHER
3. Who played the lead role in Henry: Portrait Of A Serial Killer? Crispin Glover? Michael Rooker? Eric Bana?
MICHAEL ROOKER
4. How many students stay in the titular cabin in Cabin In The Woods? 5? 6? 7?
FIVE (Dana, Curt, Jules, Marty , Holden)
5. Who composed the score for World War Z? Dario Marianelli? Marco Beltrami? Rupert Gregson-Williams?
MARCO BELTRAMI
6. In Idiocracy, where is your ID tattoo’d? Nape? Wrist? Left chest?
WRIST
7. What is the name of the whaling ship that is attacked by the whale in In The Heart Of The Sea? Essex? Yorktown? Dorset?
ESSEX
8. How many years was Kenneth Lonergan’s Margaret delayed for? 4? 8? 12?
FOUR (2007-2011)
9. James Gandolfini, Susan Sarandon and Kate Winslet starred in which John Turturro directed feature? Romance & Cigarettes? Quiz Show? Monkeybone?
ROMANCE & CIGARETTES
10. The character physically playing V in V For Vendetta is James Purefoy, the original actor cast. Hugo Weaving merely provided the voice over. True or False?
FALSE (although Purefoy was the original casting choice for V)


ROUND III: Post-Production
1. The following actors appeared in which film: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Don Cheadle, William H Macy, Alfred Molina and Mark Wahlberg?
BOOGIE NIGHTS
2. Which John Travolta/Christian Slater film is about the theft of two nuclear weapons?
BROKEN ARROW
3. What is the title character’s first name in Schindler’s List?
OSKAR
4. What colour is R’s (Nicholas Hoult) hoodie in Warm Bodies?
RED
5. What is the name of Gandalf’s sword?
GLAMDRING
6. Who directed Cinderella Man, Night Shift and The Missing?
RON HOWARD
7. What is Doc Brown’s occupation in the past in Back To The Future Part III?
BLACK SMITH
8. “Dare to live” is the poster tagline for which Matthew McConaughey film?
DALLAS BUYERS CLUB
9. The following quote is from which film, “I will eviscerate you in fiction. Every pimple, every character flaw. I was naked for a day, you will be naked for eternity”
A KNIGHT’S TALE
10. Which two actors played the same lead role in Rian Johnson’s Looper? (one point per correct answer)
JOSEPH GORDON-LEVITT / BRUCE WILLIS


ROUND IV: Promotion & Release
1. Which character in Con Air gets caught in the wheels and dies, only to have Nicolas Cage’s character write a message on the body before dislodging it? Grissom? Larkin? Pinball?
PINBALL
2. The original Thomas Crown Affair was released in which year? 1968? 1971? 1979?
1968
3. Which newspaper receives the titular killer’s taunting letters in Zodiac? Boston Herald? San Francisco Chronicle? The New York Times?
SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE
4. How many days are people given to find a partner before being turned into an animal in The Lobster? 30 days? 45 days? 100 days?
45 DAYS
5. John Wayne, Ricky Nelson and which other actor received top billing on the poster for Rio Bravo? James Stewart? Dean Martin? Gary Cooper?
DEAN MARTIN
6. Which of the following did not appear in Sicario? Jon Bernthal? Charlie Cox? Victor Garber?
CHARLIE COX
7. Who directed Carol, starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara? Mike Leigh? Todd Haynes? Tom McCarthy?
TODD HAYNES
8. What is the name of the sequel to Yojimbo? Ikiru? Sanjuro? Warui Yatsu Hodo Yoku Nemuru?
SANJURO
9. What is Conor’s job in Song Of The Sea? Lighthouse Keeper? Fisherman? Pub Landlord?
LIGHTHOUSE KEEPER
10. The shadow of the supposedly incomplete freeway in Speed is visible. True or False?
TRUE


BOUNS IMAGE ROUND
Screenshots: Ray / Horrible Bosses / Any Given Sunday / The Amazing Spider-Man 2
Poster: The Truth About Cats & Dogs
Actor: Jamie Foxx