London Has Fallen Official Trailer


London Has Fallen

The White House under siege film Olympus Has Fallen from 2013 was a surprise hit and pretty much took the prize in the match-up between it and the bigger-budgeted White House Down starring Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx. What the latter didn’t have was the presence of Morgan Freeman, the steadfastness of Aaron Eckhart and the utter badass that is Gerard Butler. Olympus Has Fallen had all three and thus was the better of the two films.

It didn’t take long for the studio who made Olympus Has Fallen to start on a sequel with the three core figures from the first film (Freeman, Eckhart and Butler) back to fight the evil of terrorism on all freedom-loving citizens. I think the studios just thought the audience who saw the first film loved just how much Gerard Butler’s character kept stabbing people in the face.

Here’s to hoping London Has Fallen didn’t try to fix what wasn’t broken…and more Gerard Butler stabbing people in the face.

Icarus Files No. 1: Cloud Atlas (dir. by The Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer)


CloudAtlas

“My life amounts to no more than one drop in a limitless ocean. Yet, what is any ocean, but a multitude of drops?” — David Mitchell

Let me tell you about Icarus. He took flight with wings of feather and wax. Warned not to fly too low so as not to have the sea’s dampness clog his wings or to climb too high to have the sun melt the wax. Icarus heeded not the latter and tried to fly as close to the sun. Just as his father had warned him the wax in his wings melted as he flew too close to the sun and soon fell back to earth and into the sea.

A tale from Greek mythology that taught has taught us about ambition reaching so high that it’s bound to fail. One such ambitious failure of recent times has been the epic science fiction film Cloud Atlas directed by The Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer.

The film was adapted from the novel of the same name by author David Mitchell which looked to take six stories set in 19th-century South Pacific and right up to a distant, post-apocalyptic future. Each story’s characters and actions would connect with each other through the six different time and space. The film attempts to do what Mitchell’s novel did through several hundred dense and detailed pages.

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Just like Icarus The Wachowski and Tom Tykwer’s attempt to connect the lives and actions of all six stories amounts for what admirers and detractors can only agree on as an admirable and ambitious failure.

The film boasts a large ensemble cast led by Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, Hugh Grant and Hugo Weaving. More than one of the actors in the cast would perform characters in each and every six interconnecting stories in the film which added a sense of rhythmic continuity to the whole affair, but also made for some very awkward and uncomfortable scenes of what could only amount to as “yellowface”. This was most evident in the story set in 22nd-century Neo Seoul, South Korea where actors such as James D’Arcy, Jim Sturgess, Keith David and Hugo Weaving have been heavily made-up to look Asian.

Cloud Atlas was and is a sprawling film that attempts to explore the theme that everything and everyone is connected through time and space. It’s how the action of one could ripple through time to have a profound effect on others which in turn would create more ripples going forward through time. The film both succeeds and fails in portraying this theme.

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It’s the film’s narrative style to tell the six stories not in a linear fashion from 19th-century to the post-apocalyptic future, but instead allow all six tales to weave in and out of each other. At times this weaving style and how it would seamlessly go from one time location to another without missing a beat made for some very powerful and emotional moments. But then it would also make these transitions in such a clunky manner that it brings one out of the very magical tale the three directors were attempting to weave and tell.

Yet, even through some of it’s many faults and failings the film does succeed in some way due to the performances of the ensemble cast. Even despite the awkwardness of the “yellowface” of the Neo Seoul sequence the actors in the scenes perform their roles such admirable fashion. One would think that someone like Tom Hanks who has become such a recognizable presence in every film he appears in wouldn’t be able to blend into each tale being shown and told, but he does so in Cloud Atlas and so does everyone else.

It helps that the film was held up from a very hard landing after reaching so high with an exquisite and beautiful symphonic score composed by Tom Tykwer, Reinhold Heil and Johnny Klimek. It’s a score that manages to accentuate the film’s exploration of emotions and actions rippling through time without ever becoming too maudlin and pandering to the audiences emotions.

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Cloud Atlas was hyped as the next epic science fiction film from The Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer leading up to it’s release. This hype was further built-up with thundering standing ovation during it’s screening at the 37th Toronto International Film Festival. But once the film finally was released and more critics and the general public were able to see it for themselves the reaction have been divisive. This was a film that brooked no middle-ground. One either loved it flaws and all or hated it despite what it did succeed in accomplishing amongst the failures.

Just like Icarus, Cloud Atlas and it’s three directors had high ambitions for the film. It was a goal that not many filmmakers seem to want to put themselves out on the limb for nowadays because of how monumental the failure can be if their ambitions are just too high. It’s been the reputation of The Wachowskis since they burst into the scene with their Matrix trilogy. Their eclectic and, somewhat esoteric, storytelling style have made all their films an exercise in high-risk, high reward affairs that makes no apologies whether they succeed or fail. Each of their films have a unique vision that they want to share with the world and they make no compromises in how this vision is achieved.

One could call Cloud Atlas an ambitious failure. It could also be pop, New Age psychobabble wrapped up in so-called high-art. Yet, what the two siblings and Tom Tykwer were able to achieve with the film has been nothing less by brave and daring. If more filmmakers were willing to allow their inner Icarus to fly then complaints of Hollywood and the film industry not having anymore fresh new ideas would fade.

Trailer: Cloud Atlas (Extended Trailer)


We’ve been getting quite a bit of hype for the fall and holiday releases of 2012 but for some reason one film that should’ve been on more people’s radar seem to have gone unnoticed until this week when an extended trailer for the film was released to the public. It’s the film adaptation of David Mitchell’s epic sci-fi novel Cloud Atlas.

The film is directed by Lana Wachowski (formerly Larry Wachowski), Andy Wachowski and German-filmmaker Tom Tykwer. It’s a film that has a cast which includes Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, Jim Sturgess and Susan Sarandon for starters. The story looks to stay faithful to the original novel source which interweaves six different stories spanning time from the 19th-century all the way to a post-apocalyptic far future.

It’s going to be interesting whether the Wachowskis and Tykwer will be able to keep these six stories from becoming too confusing for the general audience to follow. Most important of all will be if these filmmakers will be able to create an entertaining film out of a novel heavy on themes and ideas. One thing the trailer sure points out is that the Wachowskis haven’t lost their touch when it comes to the visual side of filmmaking.

Cloud Atlasis set for an October 26, 2012 release date.

Trailer: The Thing “Prequel” (Official)


If there’s one film which genre fans have been up in arms about being remade it would be John Carpenter’s The Thing. It’s one of those films which just continues to gain a loyal and zealous following despite being a major flop in the box-office when it was first released in 1982. One way producers were able to drop the remake idea was just to set a film as a prequel to the Horror Master’s classic sci-fi horror.

Using a screenplay by Eric Heisserer (which used elements from Ronald D. Moore’s own script for a possible prequel/sequel), 2011’s The Thing will be a prequel set on the ill-fated Norwegian Antarctic Research Station. Dutch-filmmaker Matthijs van Heijningen, Jr. will be doing the directing duties with Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Joel Edgerton and Ulrich Thomsen leading a cast half of which are Norwegian.

The film has been in production since March 2010 and was suppose to have a 2010 October release date. Problems either with the film’s post-production or just problems within Universal Pictures shelved the film for almost a year.

The Thing definitely looks to use Carpenter’s Steadicam and minimalist-style and the trailer shows scenes that seemed lifted right out of Carpenter’s own film. Maybe it was how the trailer was cut, but it also seemed to have more jump-scares than the ’82 classic. Some people will never accept this film even without seeing the final product. I, who consider Carpenter’s film one of the best films ever made in that era, will give this film a look-see before making a final judgement. I thought remaking Dawn of the Dead was going to be a disaster, but that film more than lived it to it’s predecessor and was very good on its own merits. I hope Matthijs van Heijningen, Jr.’s prequel also does just as well.

The Thing is set to have an October 14, 2011 release date.

Site Review’s of Carpenter’s The Thing: Arleigh’s and Leonard’s

Hanna (Trailer)


Every year there’s always a film which seems to get little to no buzz leading up to it’s release date. One such film which seems to be sneaking up on the filmgoing public is a little action thriller called Hanna from British filmmaker Joe Wright (Pride and Prejudice, Atonement) about a young girl (Saoirse Ronan) being trained by her father (Eric Bana) into some sort of assassin in the frozen wilderness of Finland. The film also stars Cate Blanchett in a role that some of her fans may not be used to. A morally ambiguous role which may or may not make her into the villain of the film.

Outside of the people who cover the film industry year in and year out this film has bypassed the radar of most film fans and are only starting to hear about it. From some of the advance reports being mentioned about Hanna, filmgoers may have something to look forward to when it finally comes out in a little over a week. Hanna has been getting some positive talk of being one of the best, if not the best, film of the year to date. Those are some pretty bold statements, but even if the film only manages to live up to half of the talk about it the last week or so then it’s going to be a film that will entertain and one that may just get strong word of mouth to get more people to watch it.

One thing which may interest some people about this film is who will be in charge of scoring it. The film’s score will be handled by the electronica duo The Chemical Brothers.

Hanna is set for an April 8, 2011 release date.