New Batman v Superman TV spots and Poster

Last night we saw the release of two new thirty second teasers for the upcoming Batman v Superman movie. Thankfully, DC and Warner Bros. have taken a step back from the miscalculated decision to show Doomsday in the previous trailer, and have instead decided to focus on the animosity between the Dark Knight and the Caped Crusader. We get a trailer basically focusing on each hero and why they dislike the other. As basic as that sounds, it builds excitement for the inevitable clash between the two.

 

Also released was a pretty standard poster of the two heroes facing off. Again, its a return to what made the original trailer so enticing. In all honesty, these last few months of posters and teasers will only likely capture those people who until now have been unaware of the massive movie event soon to happen. As for the rest of us (the majority), we have seen enough of this movie to make up our minds on whether it is worth seeing. All we can do now is wait and see whether this clash is as incredible as it should be, and whether it brings in the money at the box office. It’s the big one for DC considering Marvel’s head start in universe-building; here’s hoping they can make a fight out of it yet. With Batman and Superman, they’ve got a hell of a chance.

Batman v Supes Poster

 

Awards Season Review: The Revenant

This year, it appears that the correct movie will pick up the big prizes at the Academy Awards. The Revenant is favourite to at least win Leonardo DiCaprio his much deserved first Oscar, as well as potentially grab Best Picture and Alejandro G. Iñárritu his second consecutive Best Director gong. It is an epic story (based in part on true events) told by an incredible director and cast. We follow a group of frontiersman out trying to make a living in the American wilderness in the early nineteenth century. DiCaprio is Hugh Glass, a rather quiet, reserved but incredibly intelligent hunter, whose main concern is the safety and well-being of his son, Hawk, whose mother was a Native American. This, of course, leaves them open to attack from their fellow workmates, including the vicious John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy). When Glass is brutally mauled by a bear, Fitzgerald agrees to stay behind to care for him, as does Hawk. Fitzgerald takes the opportunity to murder Hawk in front of the incapacitated Glass’ eyes, and then leave Glass for dead.

The rest of the story tells the tale of revenge. Glass craws and scratches his way back to life, towards the man who killed his son, but we also follow the tale of a Native American group searching for a young girl. The two tales interact at times, and it adds a nice extra layer to what could have otherwise been a rather basic story. DiCaprio is breathtakingly brilliant, as a man coming back from the edge of death. We feel every drop of blood, every drip of sweat; we feel his anguish. Single-handedly DiCaprio drags us on this most brutal recovery. There’s no quick fix to his injuries, he is always scraping for life, holding on by his fingertips. It’s such a masterful performance that it threatens to overshadow the other immense acting on show. Thankfully it doesn’t, and Hardy in particular revels in playing such a downright disgusting character, whilst Poulter brings a true innocence and emotion to the role of Jim Bridger, a young member of the crew, who gets tangled up in the events.

Iñárritu, after his Oscar success last year with Birdman, could have chosen to rest on his laurels, and make a smaller budget movie. Instead, he put himself and his crew through a ridiculously tough nine month shoot, deep in the wilderness, only using natural light. It was an ambitious, audacious move but it’s paid off hugely. The final result is a stunningly beautiful movie which emphasises the wonder yet brutality of nature. Emmanuel Lubezki should be praised for such delightful cinematography, transitioning expertly from the Malick-esque shots of nature, to the unflinching action and drama. This may very well be the most well-rounded film of the year, with every key member putting in arguably career-best performances.

It looks likely that the Revenant will win big at the Oscars. With its twelve nominations, it would be a surprise if it did not leave the ceremony with a handful of gongs. It is certainly in the race for Best Picture, and DiCaprio looks set to finally pick up the award for Best Actor. Other nigh-on certainties are Iñárritu for Best Director, and Lubezki for Cinematography, whilst Tom Hardy has an outside chance at Best Supporting Actor. Overall, February 28th should be quite the night for the whole cast and crew.

Awards Season Review: Sicario

In the last few years, Emily Blunt has established herself as one of the best action women in Hollywood. After beginning her career in more dramatic and romantic roles, she has transitioned extremely successfully to characters such as those in Looper, Edge of Tomorrow, and now Sicario, for whom a gun is a loyal friend. In Sicario she plays Kate Macer, an FBI Swat agent, who works just on the American side of the border with Mexico. To begin with, her team discovers something horrific whilst raiding the house of suspected kidnappers in Arizona. This results in her being recommended to Josh Brolin’s Matt Graver, an undercover agent, for a special task force, who are targeting the men responsible for the carnage. These include Mexican drug cartel members, in particular a man by the name of Manuel Diaz. It is clear from the beginning that Macer has no idea what she has let herself in for, and director Denis Villeneuve draws together a terrific tense thriller, as Kate falls deeper into this shady operation. All is essentially not quite what it seems.

Blunt is the glue that holds it all together. Kate is a strong, idealistic character, but Blunt never lets her fall into the stereotyped role of a cold, hard-nosed women with no emotions. When she has the chance to let her hair down, and have a drink and a dance, she takes it. She may be all work on the job, but she’s also not a robot. The rest of the cast is on top form as well, with Josh Brolin doing his best work in years. His Matt Graver clearly understands the gravitas of the situation but remains cool and collected, and even witty. It’s an easy role to get wrong, to overplay the comedy, and fall into farce, but Brolin measures it expertly. The other major role falls to Benicio Del Toro, who plays Alejandro Gillick, Graver’s partner. If possible, he is even more shady than Graver, and Del Toro teases us with where his loyalties lie.

The storyline itself is superb, worthy of the actors’ efforts. There are a handful of scenes which are, quite frankly, contenders for scene of the year. From the explosive opening, to the terrifying escapades into Mexico, as well an incredible cameo turn from Jon Bernthal. Vileveneuve makes the correct choice having the Mexican drug cartel as little more than a backdrop for most of the movie. We witness the brutal consequences of their criminal activities (some of the most horrendous moments in any film this year), but they are a ghost for the most part, only their names crop up again and again. This allows the focus to stay squarely on the main trio, slowly developing the relationships between them, and unravelling the mysteries until the final dramatic moments.

It’s safe to say that Sicario was snubbed by the Oscars this year, missing out on all of the main categories. Blunt should have been a shoe-in for a Best Actress nomination at the least, whilst Del Toro, Brolin, and Vilenueve all have legitimate gripes too. In a year where only eight films were nominated for Best Picture, it seems strange not to have added Sicario to that list. Roger Deakins deservedly picked up a nomination for Best Cinematography, and he would no doubt have ran away with that award for his wonderful work here, were it not for Emmanuel Lubezki (The Revenant) who looks like he will pick up his third consecutive gong. All in all, Sicario was unlucky this year not to receive more awards acclaim, considering it is one of the films of the year.

Suicide Squad Trailer Breakdown

We are still more than half a year away from the release of DC’s Suicide Squad movie but we were recently treated to a brand new trailer, and unlike the most recent Batman vs Superman trailer, this one built suspense without giving too much away. We got more information about the numerous different characters as well as some teases about the plot. Queen’s epic Bohemian Rhapsody built perfectly with the action on screen, from serene to frantic in a moment. All in all, it was a great peak at the upcoming movie. Here’s a further breakdown…


We see a quick shot of Harleen Quinzel looking more than a bit distressed on top of a car, but the main notes regarding the fan-favourite are firstly, two shots of Harley in what looks like a swanky restaurant causing mayhem, with (you guessed it) the Clown Prince himself, the Joker. This may be a flashback to the good ol’ days of Harley/Joker team ups. More importantly we see Harley Quinn being lifted from a vat of acid, draped over the arms of the Joker. This echoes Harley’s New 52 origin, where the Joker pushed her into said acid, before rescuing her. Looks like we may be seeing that origin on the big screen rather than her original Animated Series/Mad Love story.

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Speaking of the Joker, as well as seeing him swan dive into the acid in search of Harley, we also see some spectacular shots of him being brilliantly villainous. From the clip of him in a white bow tie, laughing maniacally whilst firing off a round, to him lying on the floor surrounded by one hell of a stash of weapons. In terms of the men around him, we get our first look at henchman Johnny Frost too.

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Jai Courtney’s Captain Boomerang has a couple of moments in the trailer which may single him out as a scene-stealer. The first is when he bursts out of an Australian mail bag and immediately wallops a guard, and the second, when, as the action erupts on the screen, the music cuts and we get him sneakily opening a can and taking a sip. It’s great comedy, and it may be the first truly great role of Jai Courtney’s career. Of course it’s too early to tell, but this trailer contains some good signs.

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As for the rest of the characters we see Katana’s Soultaker sword for the first time, which can collect souls; as well as presumably Katana using these souls, thus causing the distressing change in eye colour. We also get more prolonged glimpses at Killer Croc. He has his own unique cell, which is mainly water (probably connected to the sewer) with a metal walkway. Perfect for killing unsuspecting guards. The practical effects look absolutely superb too, allowing Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje to look terrifying as well as function properly and show real emotion in his face. Croc and Katana come to blows too, showing its not quite one big happy family.

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No wonder. The Suicide Squad (also known as Task Force X) are not doing these missions for the fun of it. In fact, Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) and the American government are forcing the inmates to partake. What’s keeping them from deserting their posts though? Well traditionally the Suicide Squad are kept in check by bombs planted in their neck, and there is a hint in the trailer that that is also the case here. We see a room full of surgeons and Killer Croc being wheeled in Hannibal Lecter-style. This would imply that at least one of the squad gets disposed off by being decapitated by Waller and her technicians, and at this moment, the most likely candidate is the master of ropes, Slipknot, who once more, has very little to do in this teaser.

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A character who does have an increased role in this trailer compared with the last one is June Moone, also known as Enchantress. Enchantress is the witch who occupies Moone’s body. We see her in both forms, and it appears she may have an integral role in the story. There’s the hint of a love interest with a longer-haired Rick Flagg (Joel Kinnaman), which links back to a scene in the first trailer, where two unidentified characters were seen kissing. Throughout the rest of the trailer, Flagg has shorter hair so perhaps this scene is a flashback? More interestingly, we see Enchantress in a government building (The White House Logo can be seen behind her on a screen), which teases that she herself may be one of the antagonists of the piece. In a number of other shots of the Squad together, fighting off bad guys, Enchantress is noticeably absent.

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So perhaps she has something to do with the absolutely crazy, unexplainable scenes we witness numerous times throughout this trailer. First there is dramatic destruction, on the street, and inside a building, where a black substance is everywhere. Then there is the fact that the adversaries the Task Force take on, appear not to be completely human, instead looking and acting, more like crazed creatures. Thirdly, some being crashes straight through a subway train and begins attacking police with what can only be described as vines, before a huge bolt of light erupts the night sky, whilst demented beings gather around its base. Crazy right?! All of this is greatly confusing. We know there is a supernatural element to the movie, with Katana, her sword, and of course Enchantress being the obvious examples, but I don’t think anyone was prepared for anything quite this bizarre!

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There are a number of options that immediately jump to mind. Perhaps somehow the Joker has something to do with this, although it does appear a little out of his reach. Enchantress, seemingly being built as a major antagonist, is another option certainly. Then there is Tattooed Man, a character reportedly seen on set, who is not glimpsed at in the trailer, and whose role in the movie is as yet unconfirmed. Finally, there is a possibility of something otherworldly playing a part in this movie. We are, of course, in the DC Expanded Universe, and thus Kryptonite, and presumably Brainiac are available to the film-makers. Potentially one or both could have some sort of role in this movie.

In all honestly, at this point all we can do is speculate, and speculate we shall. This new trailer showed us a lot, and answered some of the burning questions of fans, but more importantly left us wanting so much more. For every answer we got, three more questions fell from our lips. A brilliant trailer to hype up the bad guys of the DC universe. Roll on August.

 

 

Suicide Squad Posters Revealed

Despite the fact that Batman Vs Superman: Dawn of Justice is released in just over two months, the hype surrounding the other DC Extended Universe movie released this year, Suicide Squad (which hits in August), appears to be at such a fever pitch that the two titans of comic book history can seemingly not compete. The marketing thus far for the movie, which features a group of characters unknown to most of the general public, has been fantastic, and the recent release of posters has only continued this trend. They are simple yet innovative, and they ooze cool. We see the group together in their cartoon form, and then each major character gets their own specific poster. Note the very familiar symbol drenched blood red that makes up the Joker’s mouth. A nice touch.

Director David Ayer has described this film, about a bunch of super villains tasked with saving the day, as the “Comic-Book Movie 2.0”, and if the posters and teaser trailer are anything to go by, he may very well be correct. This is not your typical happy-go-lucky Marvel film, but neither, it appears, is it too similar to the clash of titans we will see in March. This is the bad-ass cousin of that movie.

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