Cinema City Film Quiz #199

[24 September 2017]


Winning Team:
Spatula: Kitchen In The Sky
Genre – In a world of starving aeronauts, a flying kitchen holds salvation

Runners Up:
Studio Jubblies 2: Princess Mono-Nippy
Genre – Miyazaki directs a talented voice cast in a particularly chilly recording studio
When The Cat Returns With Sexy Results
Genre – Live action remake
Takeshi’s Moving Castle
Genre – Game show film
Bowels Moving Arsehole
Genre – An animation about a magical arsehole in the sky, propelled by the noxious gas from its bowels below


ROUND I: Pre-Production
1. The Val Kilmer film, The Saint, is an adaptation of which Roger Moore TV series?
THE SAINT
2. How many grandchildren does John Hammond has (that we specifically see) in Jurassic Park?
TWO (Lex / Tim)
3. “Freeze in hell, Batman” and “This is why Superman works alone” were quotes from which film?
BATMAN AND ROBIN
4. What are the titles of the four Indiana Jones films? (one point per correct answer)
RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK / TEMPLE OF DOOM / THE LAST CRUSADE / THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL
5. Who appeared in 10 Things I Hate About You, A Knight’s Tale and The Dark Knight?
HEATH LEDGER
6. Maui, Heihei and Te Fiti are characters in which Disney film?
MOANA
7. Gondor, Hobbiton and Rohan are regions in which film franchise?
THE LORD OF THE RINGS
8. How many Star Trek films have been made to date?
THIRTEEN
9. What was the name of the Aerosmith song composed for Armageddon?
I DON’T WANT TO MISS A THING
10. Which two actors starred in the lead roles in Planes, Trains & Automobiles? (one point per correct answer)
STEVE MARTIN / JOHN CANDY


ROUND II: Filming [Studio Ghibli Special]
1. In Spirited Away, Chihiro and her family enter the spirit world and her parents are turned into what animals? Cats? Dragons? Pigs?
PIGS
2. Sophie is the lead character in which film? The Wind Rises? Arriety? Howl’s Moving Castle?
HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE
3. The majority of Ponyo (in the film of the same name) is what colour? Red? Blue? Yellow?
RED
4. What is the name of the cat in Whisper Of The Heart and The Cat Returns? Yuko Harada? Sugimura? Baron Humbert Von Gikkingen?
BARON HUMBERT VON GIKKINGEN
5. Which film did Ghibli release after Whisper Of The Heart and before My Neighbours The Yamadas? Pom Poko? Princess Mononoke? Only Yesterday?
PRINCESS MONONOKE
6. How many Ghibli films have been made by Hayao Miyazaki’s son, Goro? 2? 3? 4?
TWO (Tales From Earthsea / From Up On Poppy Hill)
7. Where does Sanuki and his wife find Kaguya in The Tale Of The Princess Kaguya? On a lily-pad? Behind a waterfall? In a bamboo shoot?
IN A BAMBOO SHOOT
8. The following quote is from which film, “If you wake up tomorrow and find a white cat, it’s me”? Castle In The Sky? Kiki’s Delivery Service? The Cat Returns?
KIKI’S DELIVERY SERVICE (Jiji to Kiki regarding the amount of flower in the room)
9. What is the name of Gina’s hotel in Porco Rosso? Hotel Adriano? Hotel Bacalli? Hotel Ciprina?
HOTEL ADRIANO
10. In My Neighbour Totoro, Totoro’s name is based on a mispronunciation of troll. True or False?
TRUE (although it did not appear in the 1993 English language version, it was restored for the 2006 dub)


ROUND III: Post-Production
1. Which Disney film was released in between Cinderella and Peter Pan?
ALICE IN WONDERLAND
2. The buried alive scene takes place in which volume of Kill Bill?
VOLUME TWO
3. What is the name of the hornbill, voiced by Rowan Atkinson, in The Lion King?
ZAZU
4. The following quote is from which film, “Now if there’s one thing you can be sure of, it’s that nothing is more powerful than a young boy’s wish. Except an apache helicopter. An apache helicopter has machine guns and missiles, it’s an unbelievably impressive complement of weaponry, an absolute death machine”?
TED
5. What was the first colour film to win the Oscar for best picture?
GONE WITH THE WIND
6. In the 1997 animated film Anastasia, who voices the role of Rasputin?
CHRISTOPHER LLOYD
7. The following is the poster tagline for which film, “It’s a whole new West, July 99″?
WILD WILD WEST
8. What are the names of the two criminals in Home Alone? (one point per correct answer)
HARRY / MARV
9. What is Leon’s beverage of choice in the film of the same name?
MILK
10. What is the name of Ron Burgundy’s dog in Anchorman?
BAXTER


ROUND IV: Promotion & Release
1. What is the name of the lead samurai in Seven Samurai? Kanbe? Gorobe? Kikuchiyo?
KANBE
2. What are Proximo’s (played by Oliver Reed) last words in Gladiator? Freedom, Spaniard. Freedom? Eternal glory? Shadows and dust?
SHADOWS AND DUST
3. The clicking alien language in District 9 was achieved by rubbing what kind of food product? Pumpkin? Pineapple? A bag of Rice Krispies?
PUMPKIN
4. What is the name of Indiana Jones’ secretary? Irene? Janice? Katherine?
IRENE
5. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is set in which county? Denmark? Sweden? Norway?
SWEDEN
6. Which of the following actors did not appear in 40 Year Old Virgin? Jonah Hill? Paul Rudd? Michael Cera?
MICHAEL CERA
7. The Monty Python cast play several roles in The Holy Grail but which one portrayed the most at 12 characters? Michael Palin? Terry Jones? Eric Idle?
MICHAEL PALIN
8. The following is the poster tagline for which film, “They keep coming back in a bloodthirsty lust for human flesh”? Night Of The Living Dead? The Return Of The Living Dead? The Plague Of The Zombies?
NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD
9. In The Bourne Identity, the laser pointer in Jason’s hip takes him to a bank in which country? Switzerland? Germany? France?
SWITZERLAND
10. The line “I’ll be back” from The Terminator was actually scripted as “I’ll come back.” True or False?
TRUE


BOUNS IMAGE ROUND
Screenshots: American Beauty / LA Confidential / A Bug’s Life / Horrible Bosses 2
Poster: Glengarry Glen Ross
Actor: Kevin Spacey


KINGSMAN: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE

Suited And Booted

Director
Matthew Vaughn

Starring
Taron Egerton
Julianne Moore
Colin Firth
Mark Strong
Pedro Pascal



A year after the events in Kingsman: The Secret Service, Eggsy is operating under his former mentor’s codename, Galahad and continues to covertly protect the realm. Before the film has even has a chance to fade out the film’s title, events kick off with the arrival of Charlie Hesketh – a former Kingsman initiate who failed to graduate – who survived the events of the first film and is out for revenge against Eggsy [Egerton] for a new superior: Poppy Adams [Moore], a drug baroness in self-imposed exile from her home land of the United States. Feeling the Kingsman are a direct threat to her operation, Poppy launches a surprise attack and wipes out the entire order and all of their hideouts. The only ones who survive are Strong and Merlin [Strong], who enact an old protocol which takes them to a mysterious agency in Kentucky.

Much like its predecessor, any criticisms one has about these films can easily be directed to any James Bond feature; from the sexism to the suspension of disbelief, if you let one slide but not the other, that seems a touch unreasonable. Having said that, this film really does let itself down all too frequently and what should have been another action-packed, tongue-in-cheek romp is left a bloated, uninspired pile of mediocrity. The acting tiers are separated rather clearly between those that have committed to the heightened absurdity of the story (people like Egerton, Pascal, Strong and to a certain extent Jeff Bridges) and those who are largely phoning it in (which would be Firth, Moore, Halle Berry, etc). Essentially, the more established they are, the less they seemed to give a shit. But it’s hard to blame them as the script this time round misses the mark by offering a lukewarm villain, a fairly tame world-threatening dilemma and a complete lack of suspense or pacing. From the introduction of underutilised characters to the deaths of returning ones (I was genuinely expecting Roxy to make a surprise appearance as the film went on but then I realised they just killed her off outright) the whole thing felt eerily reminiscent of GI Joe: Retaliation – I know I’ve received a lot of flak for my positive review of GI Joe: Rise Of Cobra in the past but the change in tone from silly toy box action to semi-serious vengeance arc was incredibly odd; at least Kingsman: The Golden Circle had the common sense not to kill off the main character.

Aside from the regular super-spy lampooning, there are a few elements that take this film far away from what made Kingsman: The Secret Service a tolerable success, rather than the colourful stupid mess that it advertised itself as. The first and strangest one is the return of Harry. Bringing back Colin Firth was a decent move and offered a genuine emotional device for Eggsy, they also managed to explain it away rather well thanks to the fantastical sci-fi tech their established universe could arguably have. No problem there. The weird element is that they address how such an extreme and violent cognitive experience could have a severe impact on the victim; specifically in this case, memory loss which then leads into PTSD. Adding that level of realism (if that’s the right word) should work for this film, grounding it in some semblance of reality and offering Firth an actual reason to come back and play the same character with a deeper spin. Regrettably, it never exactly clicks and ends up feeling like a drastic tonal shift which fails to achieve the desired effect. Then we have the Statesman. I’m a little torn when it comes to the American sister-operation as it feels extremely underused but to be fair this is a Kingsman sequel so the restraint is appreciated.

Speaking of restraint, we need to talk about Elton John. In her Cambodian lair, Poppy has turned an ancient ruin into her own slice of America and with it a theatre with one hostage performer: Elton John. As a throwaway gag, that in of itself works fine. What doesn’t is that this cameo massively overplays its hand and brings him back multiple times. More than that, Elton John is effectively a supporting character. I would go so far as to posit that he has more screen time than Halle Berry or Channing Tatum. Having said that, for one bright glorious moment, it works perfectly: one of Poppy’s robotic security dogs is about to attack Harry but Elton John’s grinning mug enters from screen right to the tune of Rocket Man. It really shouldn’t be funny but it really is. Everything around it is horse-piss but that one shot was great.

In spite of the wildly erratic acting standards (between phoning-it-in and trying pretty hard) and the paint-by-numbers story, this film is pretty serviceable on a technical level. There’s plenty of the same comic book action/physics/direction which gives the film a certain flare and style but admittedly, it might be a little excessive and the film becomes heavily reliant on it at times without ever replicating the Church scene from the first one. Which, let’s face it, is what everyone involved was hoping to recreate. The visual effects were decent enough but when they dipped into displeasing territory, they were incredibly noticeable and off-putting. Equally, the sound design was perfectly fitting and Henry Jackman’s score still stands out as praiseworthy, memorable and distinctive.

Like a lot of flat sequels, this feature feels like a missed opportunity, an exercise in repetition that failed to capture whatever spark that made the original special. If you’re a fan of the first, it may play off as a passable story but on its own merit, it’s hardly making waves.


Release Date:
22nd September 2017

The Scene To Look Out For:
There are both a few scenes that stand out because they are one improvement away from being great, a few scenes that don’t exactly work and a few that are genuinely really entertaining. I’m not going to talk about any of them because the only talking point in this film is the fingering scene. In order to trace Charlie’s location, Eggsy has to place a tracker on Charlie’s girlfriend. Apparently the only way to get the device to activate is to make contact with a mucus membrane. Now, I appreciate this whole scenario is supposed to address the whole “I have to sleep with this woman for king and country” nonsense but it’s still pretty stupid. It’s hardly new, in Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me a tracer is placed up Fat Bastard’s arse but there’s something about the way this is filmed which feels like it’s primary objective was to be as titillating and shocking as possible. Now, as an adult, I was far from shocked. I’ve seen all manner of films which present sexual encounters in many different ways but it’s so uncomfortably bad that it just feels cheap and unnecessary; which, in a film with cannibalism, excessive swearing and an anal callback by Elton John, is saying something.

Notable Characters:
Without saying too much, I liked Pascal’s character, Whiskey. The character motivation was commendable but I can’t highlight the performance as it never really paid off or delivered in a satisfying way. Subsequently I have to go with my regular choice Mark Strong. I really like Strong as an actor, I think he’s wonderful and very rarely disappoints. Funny, witty and great timing; all of which makes his “arc” even more frustrating.

Highlighted Quote:
“My momma always told me we get our manners from the British. Ain’t that a pity, y’all didn’t keep none for yourselves”

In A Few Words:
“A disappointing departure from a surprise success, which could easily be fixed in a further sequel but the question is, should it be?”

Total Score:

2/5

Cinema City Film Quiz #198

[10 September 2017]


Winning Team:
Tudyk Or Not Tudyk? That Is The (Sexy) Question
Genre – Joss Whedon’s second Shakespeare adaptation where Alan Tudyk plays Hamlet and Nathan Fillion plays the CGI skull of Yorick

Runners Up:
The Seeker Of Serenity, The Protector Of Italian Virginity, The Enforcer Of Our Lord God, The One, The Only, Sir Ulrich Von Lichtenstein.. The Team
Genre – Action fantasy comedy drama high-octane fun
Alan One-Tu-Three-Dyk
Genre – Pirate film
KY-SO
Genre – The sarcastic Star Wars robot is repurposed for lubrication duties (the “SO” stands for Sore Orifice)


ROUND I: Pre-Production
1. What is the title of the movie adaptation of The Simpsons?
THE SIMPSONS MOVIE
2. Marty McFly is the lead character in which franchise?
BACK TO THE FUTURE
3. How many Die Hard films have been made to date?
FIVE
4. What is the name of Kevin Spacey’s character in Superman Returns?
LEX LUTHOR
5. Delicatessen, A Bout De Soufflé and La Vie d’Adele are films from which country?
FRANCE
6. What colour are the elephants in Dumbo’s intoxicated dream sequence in Dumbo?
PINK
7. The following quote is from which film, “In space, no one can hear you scream”?
ALIEN
8. Who played the role of Trevor Slattery in Iron Man 3?
BEN KINGSLEY
9. The English Patient was released in which year?
1996
10. The Duke was a nickname for which classic Hollywood actor?
JOHN WAYNE


ROUND II: Filming [Alan Tudyk Special]
1. What is the name of the ship in Serenity? Firefly? Serenity? Mal’s Boat?
SERENITY
2. Who does Alan Tudyk play in Tucker & Dale Vs Evil? Tucker? Dale? Chad?
TUCKER
3. Ice Age was released in which year? 1999? 2002? 2006?
2002
4. Who directed I, Robot? Alex Proyas? Rob Cohen? Bret Ratner?
ALEX PROYAS
5. What is the name of the kingdom in Frozen? Frell? Corona? Arendelle?
ARENDELLE
6. Which of the following did not appear in Patch Adams? Phillip Seymour Hoffman? Dustin Hoffman? Alan Tudyk?
DUSTIN HOFFMAN
7. In Trumbo Michael Stuhlbarg portrays which famous actor? Humphrey Bogart? James Cagney? Edward G Robinson?
EDWARD G ROBINSON
8. The following quote is from which film, “Proverbs 13:3. He that keepeth his mouth, keepeth his life. He that opens his lips too wide shall bring on his own destruction. Tommy was weak. Tommy was stupid. Tommy is dead”? 3:10 To Yuma? Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter? Transformers: Dark Of The Moon?
3:10 TO YUMA
9. How many people/droids make up Jyn’s unit in Rogue One? 6? 7? 8?
SIX (Jyn, Cassian, Chirrut, Baze, Bodhi, K-2SO)
10. For the international release of Zootopia, the news anchor Moosebridge has several animal variants. True or False?
TRUE (Koala in Australia, Tanuki in Japan, Panda in China, Jaguar in Brazil, etc)


ROUND III: Post-Production
1. Ingrid Bergman, Albert Finney, Lauren Bacall, Michael York and Sean Connery appeared in which film?
MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS
2. The B52s performed under which name in The Flintstones?
BC52’S
3. Who played the respective lead roles in Cold Mountain? (one point per correct answer)
NICOLE KIDMAN / JUDE LAW
4. The following quote is from which film, “That’s all that’s left of the last dragon-slayer who tangled with me. If I were you, I’d quite while I was ahead”?
DRAGONHEART
5. In which film does John Travolta play Terl, an alien security chief stationed on a desolate Earth in the year 3000?
BATTLEFIELD EARTH
6. What is Jacob Tremblay’s character’s name in Room?
JACK
7. Who voices the roles of Tai Lung, Lord Shen and Kai, the respective villains in Kung Fu Panda, 2 and 3? (one point per correct answer)
IAN MCSHANE / GARY OLDMAN / JK SIMMONS
8. How does Elliot die in Ghost Dad?
CAR CRASH (announces he is Satan to a Satanist taxi driver, who then drives off a bridge and into a river)
9. O, Brother Where Art Thou? was released in which year?
2000
10. What are the names of the Ghostbusters in the 2016 remake? (one point per correct answer)
ABBY YATES / ERIN GILBERT / JILLIAN HOLTZMANN / PATTY TOLAN


ROUND IV: Promotion & Release
1. Who directed the 1960 film, Ocean’s 11? Charles Walters? Lewis Milestone? John Frankenheimer?
LEWIS MILESTONE
2. Which of the following is not part of Team America, in the film of the same name? Joe Smith? Gary Johnston? Hank Davids?
HANK DAVIDS
3. What did Ridley Scott direct in between Black Hawk Down and Kingdom Of Heaven? Matchstick Men? A Good Year? Hannibal?
MATCHSTICK MEN
4. Who played the lead role in the 1997 Frank Oz comedy, In & Out? Tom Hanks? Kenneth Branagh? Kevin Kline?
KEVIN KLINE
5. The following is the poster tagline for which film, “You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll hurl”? Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure? Wayne’s World? California Man (Encino Man)?
WAYNE’S WORLD
6. Which actor appeared in Ghost Rider, Wild At Heart and The Family Man? Nicolas Cage? Sam Elliott? Henry Fonda?
NICOLAS CAGE
7. The following quote is from which noir film, “Office memorandum. Walter Neff to Barton Keyes, Claims Manager, Los Angeles, July 16, 1938″? The Big Sleep? Out Of The Past? Double Indemnity?
DOUBLE INDEMNITY
8. What is the title of the sequel to The Hustler? Jack Of All Trades? The Colour Of Money? What’s Yours Is Mine?
THE COLOUR OF MONEY
9. How many sequels were made to Shaft? 2? 3? 4?
TWO (Shaft’s Big Score, Shaft In Africa)
10. The Millennium Falcon appears in Spaceballs. True or False?
TRUE (parked outside the diner at the end of the film)


BOUNS IMAGE ROUND
Screenshots: Happy Gilmore / Jack And Jill / Punch-Drunk Love / Pixels
Poster: Coneheads
Actor: Adam Sandler


Cinema City Film Quiz #197

[27 August 2017]


Winning Team:
Rouge One: A Sexy Star Wars Story… With Sexy Results
Genre – Ging-Erso is tasked with stealing the sexy plans to an intergalactic windmill

Runners Up:
Flaming Beauties
Genre – A red pride documentary
Red Bobs & Boom Sticks
Genre – Leelo from The Fifth Element and Ash from The Evil Dead team up to fight deadites in the bowels of futuristic New York City
The Hunt For Red-Croptober
Genre – One man’s hunt for the ultimate red cropped haircut during the month of October
Lost In Translation
Genre – Comedy


ROUND I: Pre-Production
1. What is the name of Tom Cruise’s character in Jerry Maguire?
JERRY MAGUIRE
2. Who played the lead role in Anchorman?
WILL FERRELL
3. Fantastic Beasts and where to find them is the prequel series to which franchise?
HARRY POTTER
4. What is the title of the most recent Star Trek film?
STAR TREK BEYOND
5. Trainspotting is predominantly set in which country?
SCOTLAND
6. What is the title of the sequel to Magic Mike?
MAGIC MIKE XXL
7. Leonardo DiCaprio won his first acting Oscar for his performance in which film?
THE REVENANT
8. Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy played the lead roles in which Paul Feig film?
THE HEAT
9. Which 1960 science fiction features a time traveller named George and his adventures with the Eloi and Morlocks?
THE TIME MACHINE
10. American Graffiti was released in which decade?
SEVENTIES


ROUND II: Filming [Red-Headed Actors Special]
1. [Karen Gillan] What is the name of Karen Gillan’s character in Guardians Of The Galaxy? Starlord? Nebula? Thanos?
NEBULA
2. [Alicia Witt] David Lynch directed an adaptation of which science fiction novel? War Of The Worlds? Dune? Ender’s Game?
DUNE
3. [Jeffrey Jones] Ichabod Crane is a constable working in which city before being dispatched to Sleepy Hollow in the film of the same name? New York? Boston? Chicago?
NEW YORK
4. [Simon Pegg] In the cornetto trilogy, which flavour does Shaun Of The Dead represent? Mint? Vanilla? Strawberry?
STRAWBERRY
5. [Eric Stoltz] The following quote is from which film, “I bet you could cut down on the hero factor in a place like this”? Reservoir Dogs? Jackie Brown? Pulp Fiction?
PULP FICTION
6. Which of the following films did not feature Bryce Dallas Howard? Pete’s Dragon? Terminator Salvation? The Tree Of Life?
THE TREE OF LIFE
7. [Jessica Chastain] Who wrote the screenplay for The Martian? Steven Zaillian? William Monahan? Drew Goddard?
DREW GODDARD
8. Chuck Norris appeared in which Bruce Lee feature? The Big Boss? Way Of The Dragon? Fist Of Fury?
WAY OF THE DRAGON
9. [David Wenham] The following is the poster tagline for which film, “This land will be civilised”? The Proposition? High Plains Drifter? Zulu Dawn?
THE PROPOSITION
10. [Julianne Moore] Throughout The Big Lebowski, the dude is seen consuming 31 White Russians. True or False?
FALSE


ROUND III: Post-Production
1. The following quote is from which James Bond film, “I know you’ll find this crushing 007 but I don’t sit at home every night praying for some international incident so I can run down here all dressed up to impress James Bond”?
GOLDENEYE
2. Who directed The Conversation?
FRANCIS FORD COPPOLA
3. Based on the mountain range at the end of The Great Escape, in which country is the film set?
GERMANY (Fussen)
4. Margaret Hamilton played Miss Almira Gulch in which classic film?
THE WIZARD OF OZ (also The Wicked Witch Of The West)
5. Chronologically speaking, Resident Evil Retribution is which number in the release sequence?
FIFTH (of six)
6. What is the title of the sequel to Romancing The Stone?
THE JEWEL OF THE NILE
7. What is George Harkness’ alias in Suicide Squad?
CAPTAIN BOOMERANG
8. North By Northwest has a climactic finale atop which US monument?
MOUNT RUSHMORE
9. Who played the role of Dr Catheter in Gremlins 2: The New Batch?
CHRISTOPHER LEE
10. Michael Fassbender, David Wenham, Dominic West and Rodrigo Santoro appeared in which film?
300


ROUND IV: Promotion & Release
1. What name is given to the puzzle box in Hellraiser? The Cryptic Of Pain? The Cenobite Cube? The Lament Configuration?
THE LAMENT CONFIGURATION
2. A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Public Enemy and Yankee Doodle Dandy starred which actor? James Cagney? James Stewart? Clark Gable?
JAMES CAGNEY
3. Which of the following isn’t a Rodgers and Hammerstein musical? The King And I? South Pacific? Seven Brides For Seven Brothers?
SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS
4. Who directed the following films: Stardust Memories, The Purple Rose Of Cairo and Cassandra’s Dream? Woody Allen? Jim Jarmusch? John Cassavetes?
WOODY ALLEN
5. Mannequin was released in which year? 1980? 1984? 1987?
1987
6. What are the names of Steve Martin and Martin Short’s respective characters in The Prince Of Egypt? Bay & Ardeth? Hotep & Huy? Kask & Mumra?
HOTEP & HUY
7. The following quote is from which Eddie Murphy film, “I don’t give a damn who you are. This is America, Jack. Now you say one more word about Lisa and I’ll break my foot off in your royal ass”? The Nutty Professor? Coming To America? The Golden Child?
COMING TO AMERICA
8. Mary Lennox emigrates to Yorkshire from which country at the start of The Secret Garden? India? Australia? Egypt?
INDIA
9. Which actor served as producer on the 1997 science fiction film Gattaca? Joe Pesci? Danny DeVito? Mel Brooks?
DANNY DEVITO
10. The creative team behind The Goonies reunited two years later to release Monster Squad using the same formula but substituting adventure with horror. True or False?
FALSE (Monster Squad featured an entirely different cast and crew)


BOUNS IMAGE ROUND
Screenshots: Rango / Now You See Me / The Great Gatsby / Rise Of The Guardians
Poster: Nocturnal Animals
Actor: Isla Fisher


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