Film, List

INSPIRATIONAL FILM SPEECHES:

Just as I recently shared with you some of my preferred study tracks, I thought I would also explore another of my useful study aids: the inspirational film speech.

A quick delve into Youtube and you will find yourself a treasure trove of cinematic brilliance – an inspirational speech is just what you need as you brace yourself to take on a mammoth task, be it a left-to-the-last-minute essay or a long day at work. Here are some of my go-to videos:

ANY GIVEN SUNDAY:

Let me level with you – I’ve never seen Any Given Sunday. I do, however, adore Al Pacino and never has his over-the-top-ness worked so well as it does here.

Inspirational speeches and sports films go hand in hand and the message being put across here is universal – take things one step at a time.

It is also speeches such as these that make you a little glad that the US hasn’t fully adopted the metric system, centimetre by centimetre doesn’t quite have the same ring to it.

ROCKY BALBOA:

Rocky Balboa has a quite a few moments of brilliance from Sylvester Stallone, but the speech he gives to his son is the one that hits home hardest. 

Robert “Rocky” Jnr has some problems with living in his fathers shadow, and Stallone pulled the flailing film series out of the gutter with this speech where he tackles his son head on, reminding him that it is up to yourself to take control of your own life.

“You, me or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.”

Basically, you don’t have anyone else to blame if you don’t get your uni work done.

THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION:

Ok so it’s that point in the semester where everything is piling up and there doesn’t appear to be an end in sight, but at least you haven’t been falsely imprisoned for a double murder. 

Andy Dufrense managed to maintain hope in the face of some incredibly poor prospects, and this speech is the perfect one to drag you out of the pit if you are feeling sorry for yourself.

Not a straight up speech like the others, but still full to the brim with inspiration.

TEAM AMERICA: WORLD POLICE:

This is a film from the guys who make South Park, and I’ve always been an advocate of the fact that underneath the profanity and vulgarity (of which there is plenty) there is almost always a clever and sometimes affecting message. 

Plus, if you don’t buy into any of that you will probably at least get a laugh from it.

LORD OF THE RINGS: RETURN OF THE KING:

Pre-battle speeches are a great form of inspiration – also see 300 and Braveheart for some other examples – but this one from Aragorn in the final instalment of the Lord of the Rings trilogy could easily be regarded as the grandaddy of them all. 

It’s fairly short and to the point, but Viggo Mortensen delivers it with such gusto that you will watch it and find yourself fired up and ready to take on the world.

LEGALLY BLONDE:

“You must always have faith in yourself.”

The world of inspirational film speeches is quite a male dominated one, from sports films to battle scenes, but Legally Blonde is a great one in the motivation stakes – if Elle can graduate, so can you.

BRIDGET JONES DIARY:

Less inspirational, more painfully relatable, this one was too funny not to be included. 

Which film speeches inspire you? Let me know in the comments section! 

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Film

FILM INQUIRY:

Just a quick update to say I am still alive. I’m super busy with university work at the moment and haven’t had the time to make many updates here. I hope to post something new soon, but in the meantime feel free to check out some of the work I’ve been doing over at Film Inquiry!

Here is a Beginner’s Guide to one of my favourite directors, Danny Boyle. I also wrote an essay about the place for screwball comedy in modern cinema, which you can check out here. Lastly I wrote another Beginner’s Guide for the late, great John Hughes, which you can read on this link.

Expect some new updates both here and on Film Inquiry in the very near future. In the meanwhile, here are some trailers for my most anticipated films in the coming months…

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Film, Trailers

TRAILER – THE PREPPIE CONNECTION:

Directed: Joseph Castelo

Starring: Thomas Mann, Lucy Fry, Sam Page

Based on the real life scandal at Choate Rosemary Hall in 1984, The Preppie Connection tells the story of a private school student (Thomas Mann) who begins a drug trafficking network

The trailer paints the film as an interesting blend of genres, with teen movies, indie flicks and crime/drug capers all amalgamating into The Preppie Connection, which could prove to be the element upon which the film will sink or swim.

preppieconnection

source: Variety

Mann made waves last year in the excellent Me, Earl and the Dying Girl, and it will be interesting to see what he can do with this role as the student who helms the trafficking. Mann has the right balance of indie awkwardness and charm and looks set to be bringing plenty of that to this, with the crime element creating something different.

The supporting cast look to be just as interesting with Australian actress Lucy Fry appearing to have an important role as the love interest and motivator of Mann’s character. Mann and Fry’s roles were initially linked to Evan Peters and Bella Heathcote respectively, but the pair look like a solid fit for the characters.

Joseph Castelo has previously directed two films – American Saint (2001) and The War Within (2005) – which explore interesting subject matters, with this proving to be another intriguing entry. The director has also penned the script alongside Ashley Rudden.

The film is set for a limited release in the USA on the 18th of March, with no word yet on a UK release date. With such a promising cast and an alluring concept, lets hope The Preppie Connection will make an appearance on this side of the pond sometime soon.

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Film, News, Opinion

SUICIDE SQUAD TRAILER #2

I’m not going to lie – I spend a lot of time complaining about how trailers are getting worse and only ever manage to ruin the movie months before I inevitably go see it anyway – but even I was blown away by the latest Suicide Squad trailer that Warner Bros dropped a couple of weeks ago.

Seriously, it’s a trailer DONE RIGHT. There are literally hundreds of things for fans to pore over, but those wily marketing experts resist the urge to spoon feed everyone the entire plot (take note movie industry).

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First and foremost, the decision to use Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody is nothing short of genius. I’d go so far as to say that it outdoes Marvel’s excellent use of Pinocchio’s I’ve Got No Strings in the Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer.

It immediately sets this trailer apart from the first, which was a slow burner that made use I Started A Joke by Sidney Chase to massively creepy effect. This time we have the squad in action, and director David Ayer is keen to tell us one thing – this is going to be an insanely fun ride.

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Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) is the star of the show and it is clear that we will see her origin story – the one that includes the big ol’ vat of acid. Pair that with Jared Leto’s take on the Joker, which looks like something we haven’t seen on the big screen before, and Suicide Squad is shaping up to be something special.

Some of the lesser characters were given a bit more screentime this time round, and Killer Croc (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) and El Diablo (Jay Hernandez) in particular look promising. Croc’s visuals seem much more assured and the first proper glimpse at him in action has left me excited for more.

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My biggest surprise of the trailer was Jai Courtney’s Boomerang. I had no hope for Boomerang (meaning I gave him no thought), largely because Tom Hardy gave up the role (sob) and Courtney is the most boring piece of eye candy to come around since Sam Worthington, but I take it all back based on this trailer.

Seriously – Boomerang looks like he is going to be the comic relief, with a couple of moments in the trailer nodding in this direction. Here’s hoping this is finally a role with a bit of personality – don’t let me down Courtney, this is your chance to make up for Terminator Genysis (2015).

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Also, how amazing is the graphic design? I mean, it’s probably not often that it is an area that warrants its own mention, but seriously – it’s beautiful.

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Film, Reviews

FILM REVIEW: SPOTLIGHT

spotlight-pic-2Making a good film about journalism isn’t easy, but when done right can be great. The defining example, in what will come as a surprise to no-one, is the 1976 film All The President’s Men, and the golden rule of such films (and of journalism as a whole) is that journalists tell the story, they don’t make themselves the story. It is the steadfast sticking to this rule that makes Spotlight, the latest film from Tom McCarthy, such a resounding success.

Starring an ensemble cast including Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo and Rachel McAdams, the film depicts the true life events that occurred in 2001 when the Boston Globe’s Spotlight team uncovered a child abuse scandal within the Catholic church. The team won the Pulitzer Prize for their work, and the story is a shocking one. The film has been nominated for a total of six Oscars, making it a surprise success during awards season.

McCarthy’s direction is reminiscent of police procedural shows, perhaps unsurprising seeing as he penned the script with Josh Singer, who is known for his work on various shows including Law and Order: Special Victims Unit. McCarthy opts for a relatively straightforward form of filmaking, allowing the story to speak for itself in the starkest form.

Spotlight-462365831-largeThe cast are intrinsic to the films success, with Ruffalo and McAdams picking up Supporting Actor/Actress Oscar nominations respectively, though it is a surprise that Keaton did not pick up a nomination for the second year running for his phenomenal turn. Ruffalo is certainly the moral conscience of the film, picking up some of the best lines, but Keaton’s more understated performance is just as affecting.

McCarthy and Singer’s script manages to make quite a dense topic accessible without oversimplifying it, and they also avoid the traps of exageratting the true story for dramatic effect or over-relying on use of the victims to get their point across. This means that Spotlight remains fully grounded in the facts, which are shocking enough on their own. The film is a slow burner, which makes sense considering investigative journalism is built around slowly bringing the jigsaw pieces together.

The film pays enormous detail to its 2001 setting and is hugely convincing in its portrayal of journalism before technology took over. McCarthy has said that at its core the film is about the power of journalism, something he believes has been lost in the present day as we are constantly bombarded with information. It’s a strong message and it raises some interesting questions about the power of the media and how, especially before the rise of social media, select people were in charge of what information went out to the masses.

Spotlight is everything that a film of its sort should be, with a fantastic cast and a story that will make you stand up and take notice, there is a good chance that the underdog at the Oscars could turn out to be a real frontrunner next month.

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Film, List

JANUARY IN FILM – TOP 5 MOVIE QUOTES

My top five pieces of dialogue from January’s cinema offerings. 

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The most tedious month of the year is finally over. I’ve been pretty active in my cinema-going this month and have managed to see a total of ten different films, ranging from the average to the awards-worthy. Here are my five favourite quotes that have stuck with me most from this months viewing…

“That’s the thing with old people. You can push them down the stairs and pretend it was an accident, but you can’t just shoot ’em”

– Kurt Russell’s bounty hunter John Ruth says it like it is in The Hateful Eight

“He’s so transparent in his self interest that I kinda respect him” 

– Mark Buam (Steve Carrell) assesses sleazy banker Jared Venett (Ryan Gosling) in The Big Short

“Are you four?”

– Steve Carrell gives everyone Michael Scott flashbacks in The Big Short

“They knew and they let it happen….It coulda been you, it coulda been me, it coulda been any of us!” 

– Mark Ruffalo shows why he received a Best Supporting Actor nomination for his turn as journalist Michael Rezendes in Spotlight

“Such tremendous effort…for such modest returns” 

– Michael Caine gives his best performance in years as a retired composer in Youth

What are your top quotes for the month? Let me know in the comments section!

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Film, Reviews

FILM REVIEW: DADDY’S HOME

Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell team up for the second time in Sean Anders’ comedy.

daddys-home-movie-2015-reviewsWill Ferrell is nothing if not consistent – whilst he has been the star of some of the most hilarious comedies of the 21st century, even his lesser efforts are sure to make you laugh. He’s a funny guy, and he can be counted on to make funny films – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right? It will therefore as a surprise to no-one that Daddy’s Home is funny. Ferrell first teamed up with Mark Wahlberg for action comedy The Other Guys in 2010, and they have proven their comedic chemistry again here in a film about everyman Brad (Will Ferrell), who is married to Sara (Linda Cardellini) and step-father to her two kids. Brad wants nothing more than for the kids to call him Dad, and he seems to be making progress in that direction until Dusty (Mark Wahlberg), the kids’ biological father, shows up. Cue a step-father v Dad stand-off where everyone involved learns a lesson or two.

Sean Anders is in the directors chair, with his previous credits including Horrible Bosses 2 (2014) and writing gigs on We’re The Millers (2013) and Dumb and Dumber To (2014). He doesn’t bring anything new to the table, but the film is clearly in capable hands. His camera work on the more physical scenes is strong, but he does little to elevate Daddy’s Home above typical Friday-night movie fare.

daddyshome-mv-4Brian Burns’ screenplay (which is loosely based on his own experiences as a step-father), breaks no new ground and the plot is as predictable as the trailer makes it out to be. The film is largely propped up by the aforementioned chemistry between its leading men. The juxtaposition of over-earnest and by-the-book Brad and the wild and unpredictable Dusty is a trope in itself (“It’s a story as old as time” remarks Dusty in an amusingly self-aware moment), but that doesn’t stop it from being funny to watch them attempt to one-up each other.

The cast is rounded out by some hilarious supporting players, most notably Griff (Hannibal Buress), the handyman who becomes friends with Dusty and Leo (Thomas Haden Church), Brad’s over-sharing boss. Buress and Haden Church’s dry humour acts as an effective balance to the more over-the-top and slapstick elements of the central duo, keeping it from becoming overpowering. A cameo from John Cena is also expertly executed, getting one of the biggest laughs of the film.

The kids (played by Scarlett Esteves and Owen Vaccaro) are nowhere near as insufferable as the children that populate many a comedy (the kids in last years Vacation, albeit older, immediately spring to mind). It’s also worth noting that the film is the epitome of a boy’s club, with Cardellini given little to do other than to stand around and shake her head at the men, but if anything that’s more of a reflection on the wider problems about women in comedy.

daddyshome-mv-6The product placement is so hilariously blatant that it deserves special mention – from Ford cars to numerous types of beer, the film cannot be accused subtlety in either its storytelling or shafting of products, but it’ll at least give you something else to laugh about. Whilst critics have been mixed in their opinions, the film has been a smash-hit financially and is close to hitting the $200 million mark in domestic grosses, which makes it Ferrell’s second largest non-animated opening. All in all, it’s nothing new and you will be hard pressed to remember it in a month’s time, but Daddy’s Home is still well worth a watch based on Ferrell and Wahlberg’s comedic duo alone.

 

 

 

 

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Film, Reviews

FILM REVIEW: THE DANISH GIRL

Tom Hooper brings the story of Lili Elbe, one of the world’s first gender reassignment patients, to the big screen.

Director: Tom Hooper

Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Alicia Vikander

Certificate: 15

The Danish Girl is a film that has been fighting to get made for a long time, yet it has finally come along when the subject matter couldn’t be more relevant. Trans issues are finally being talked about, and 2015 was a big year with Caitlyn Jenner – love her or hate her – making the issue a household topic, whilst the likes of Laverne Cox are bringing the issues to the mainstream. It feels like the perfect backdrop to tell the story of Lili Elbe, born Einar Warner, who was one of the first patients to undergo gender reassignment surgery.

Hooper fully embraces the classical film-making style, and the result is a dully beautiful 1920’s Copenhagen, as pleasing to the eye as one of Einar (Eddie Redmayne) or Gerda Warner’s (Alicia Vikander) paintings, but lacking the substance that one would expect in a film of this sort. The narrative is fairly straightforward and the paint-by-numbers biopic arguably doesn’t do the extremely interesting real-life characters justice.

Redmayne and Vikander are at the top of their game and have both received Oscar nominations for their fantastic work as the married couple at the center of the tale. They make the film watchable and their dynamic as a married couple and, above all else, as friends is what is at the heart of the story. It can be disappointing to look at the backstory of the real Einar/Lili and Gerda however, and see that Hooper has opted to take a decidedly bland version of the tale to the screen. The supporting cast are equally strong, with Mattias Schoenaerts in particular becoming a key player.

The film has proved controversial in it’s depiction of Lili, with criticisms being aimed at Redmayne’s casting and the fact that the narrative bases itself on Einar ‘learning’ to be a woman, with various scenes showing the character mimicking female gestures. This could almost be perceived as a step backwards in the representation of trans issues, but Redmayne’s performance itself is well executed. Much like his Oscar-winning turn in The Theory of Everything, the actor carried out extensive research for the role and it shines through, with the films issues instead being down to the script.

The score, whilst pleasant, is nothing special and continues the ‘by the book’ feel that blights the entire film, though the costume and set design is stunning. In his review for The Atlantic, David Sims said:

“It’s a film that’s sensitive and often touching, but not remotely compelling.” 

All the elements for a great film are there, but a story as interesting as Lili’s should not be this boring to watch. It could have been a film that broke new ground, but instead it feels like Hooper is playing it safe and gunning for the Oscar’s.

Ultimately, The Danish Girl is a story of what could have been – perhaps in the hand of a different director it may have been a very different film, but as it stands it has fallen far short of the wider cultural impact it could have had.

 

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Film, List

5 THINGS YOU DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE:

Some facts you might not no about everyone’s favourite christmas flick.

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It’s A Wonderful Life is a true christmas classic – I count myself among one of the thousands who watches the film and gets a little misty eyed every festive season. It can hardly be accused of being subtle, and there is no doubt that it can be a little sickly sweet for some, but I see the film as essential yuletide viewing. It’s been 59 years since Frank Capra’s film came out, and much of the story surrounding it is common knowledge – based on short story The Greatest Gift by Philip Van Doren Stern, it initially flopped at the box office before being revived due to the copyright expiring in the 1970s – but there are also some lesser known fun facts about It’s A Wonderful Life, five of which I have compiled here…

5 – IT INVENTED A NEW KIND OF ARTIFICIAL SNOW

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Snow set under construction (Cornell Library) 

The film was nominated for five oscars back in 1946, but unfortunately didn’t win any. It was however awarded a Technical Achievement Award for its innovation in creating a new method for artificial snow. Before It’s A Wonderful Life, films featuring snow usually used cornflakes that had been painted white. This meant that any scenes featuring both snow and dialogue had to be redubbed due to the racket from walking over cornflakes. This situation wasn’t ideal for a film set in a town in the depths of a snowy winter, so RKO’s Head of Special Effects Russell Sherman worked together with Capra to come up with a quieter form of fake snow. This was achieved by mixing together famine – the material used in fire extinguishers – sugar, water and soap flakes, creating a sprayable and totally silent type of artificial snow. Chances are the makers of cornflakes weren’t too happy at this innovation – there must have been quite a drop in sales in the Hollywood area post 1946.

4 – IT’S AN EARLY EXAMPLE OF PRODUCT PLACEMENT

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Business Insider

Product placement is something that is generally thought of as the bane of modern filming (yes we are all looking at you, Jurassic World), so it is surprising to see that it actually dates back decades, and even wholesome classics weren’t immune from its wily ways. Mr. Gower’s drugstore is a hotbed of product placement action – ever wondered why you always have a hankering for some Coca Cola when you watch that scene? (you probably don’t have such cravings, but roll with me here). Coke is only one of numerous products which are on display in the background of the store, which mostly features brands of cigarettes and cigars. Sweet Caporal cigarettes were the biggest benefactors however – George looks at their advertisement, which reads ‘Ask Dad. He knows”, as inspiration to go talk to his father. See what they did there – product placement done right. Take note, modern day Hollywood.

3 – BEULAH BOND WAS JIMMY STEWART’S MOTHER FOR THE FOURTH TIME

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Pintrest

By the time Beulah Bondi came to play Mrs. Bailey she was no stranger to playing Mum to James Stewart – she had already done so three times. The actress, who made a career playing maternal roles, played Jimmy Stewart’s mother in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Of Human Hearts and Vivacious Lady. She went on to do it one last time on The Jimmy Stewart Show: Identity Crisis (1971). Despite her reputation for playing motherly roles, Bondi never married or had children, but she is warmly remembered for being a twice oscar nominated character actress who was particularly active through the ‘classic Hollywood’ era of the 1930s to 1950s.

2 – UNCLE BILLY WASN’T AS DRUNK AS YOU THOUGHT

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The Guardian

Remember that scene where Uncle Billy drunkenly makes his way home, only for a big crash to sound out and him to yell “I’m all right, I’m a llllll right!”? Believe it or not, that little chunk or hilarity was not in the script. In reality, a crew member dropped a large piece of equipment and Thomas Mitchell, who played Uncle Billy, went along with it by coming out with the line. Jimmy Stewart followed suit with his reaction, and Capra enjoyed the segment so much that he kept it in the film, enhancing the crashing noise and giving the stagehand who dropped the equipment $10 for “improving the sound”. Whilst only a small moment in the film, it is a great example of the charm that has made it so enduring, and is made all the funnier by the fact that it was unintentional.

1 – IT WAS CAPRA’S FILM THROUGH AND THROUGH

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AFI

Frank Capra generally both wrote and directed his films, but he took things a step further with It’s A Wonderful Life. Capra directed, produced, financed and co-wrote the film, making it a true passion project for the director. In his autobiography he stated that he believes it to be the best film he ever made (a sentiment now shared by the masses, it would seem), and it is clear that he believed in the project wholeheartedly. This makes it all the more tragic that the film did so poorly in it’s initial run. After the Second World War Capra’s films became less popular – his work was deemed to be overly idealistic and simple for the prosperous post war climate, and was seen as better suited to the Depression and pre-war era that he had found such success in. On the bright side, Capra lived to see the film gain the iconic status that it has since afforded itself, and much of his later work has been reassessed as being excellent, so it wasn’t a total Van Gogh situation.

What are your favourite facts about It’s A Wonderful Life? Let me know in the comments section!

 

 

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Film, List

DECEMBER IN FILM:

PicMonkey Collage

2015 is drawing to a close, and it has undoubtedly been a huge year for film – The Avengers assembled for the second time, Bond returned, Fantastic Four flopped, Mad Max: Fury Road brought action movies to the fore and Inside Out reminded us why we all fell in love with Pixar. It has been a year of heady highs and lacklustre lows, but it’s not over yet. There is still one month left of the year and plenty of exciting films to look forward to as the Oscar race heats up. The biggest cinematic event of the month is without a doubt the release of the hotly anticipated seventh instalment in the Star Wars franchise – whilst I am not myself a fan of the franchise (I’m sorry, I haven’t seen any of the films), I will probably not be able to resist joining the hype and checking out the new movie. As is always the case in December, there are a few seasonal films being released in the lead up to Christmas, and I have looked at them before moving onto the other films being released this month…

CHRISTMAS FILMS:

 

THE NIGHT BEFORE: 

download (5)Out: December 4th

Director: Jonathan Levine

Starring: Seth Rogen, Joseph Gordon Levitt, Anthony Mackie

What’s it about?: The film follows three best friends – Ethan (Joseph Gordon Levitt, Isaac (Seth Rogen) and Chris (Anthony Mackie), who embark on one last Christmas Eve night out together in New York City, a tradition they have upheld for the previous 14 years.

Will it be good? Director Levine’s credits include subversive slasher All The Boys Love Mandy Lane (2006) and dramedy 50/50 (2011) (which also starred Gordon-Levitt and Rogen), as well as horror/rom-com Warm Bodies (2013), so there is no doubt that he has both range and comedic credentials. The cast is also strong – the leading trio are all promising and the trailer suggests a few big laughs. Comedy is always a hard one to read – the trailer will always contain the best moments, but these can easily turn out to be the only laughs in the film. Early reviews suggest that the film is a solid effort, though the likelihood that it will become a festive staple is pretty low.

KRAMPUS:

download (1)Out: December 4th 

Director: Michael Dougherty

Starring: Adam Scott, Toni Colette

What’s it about? A black comedy/horror, the film depicts a family who are stalked by Krampus, the legendary figure known for punishing children who have been bad at Christmas – “the shadow of Saint Nicholas”.

Will it be good? The film is bolstered by a strong cast – Adam Scott of Parks and Recreation fame and Toni Colette head the family – and director Michael Dougherty is known for cult hit Trick’r’Treat (2007), so the chances of this being a Christmas treat for horror fans is quite high. The marketing thus far has kept the tone relatively dark, so the jury is still out on how much of a role the comedy element will play – expect something between Black Christmas (1974) and Gremlins (1984) on the horror/comedy scale.

CHRISTMAS WITH THE COOPERS:

download (2)Out: December 1st

Director: Jessie Nelson

Starring: Diane Keaton, John Goodman, Olivia Wilde, Ed Helms

What’s it about? Titled Love the Coopers in the US, the film follows the four generations of the Cooper clan coming together to celebrate Christmas. Charlotte Cooper (Diane Keaton) is desperate to have the perfect Christmas, but the coming together of the family leads to a variety of misadventures and incidents.

Will it be good? It has a pretty decent cast, but it doesn’t look like anything particularly groundbreaking. The ensemble looks promising, and there are sure to be the typical dysfunctional family laughs throughout and the heartwarming ending, but I’m willing to bet you won’t remember it next Christmas.

OTHER RELEASES:

STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS:

Star_Wars_The_Force_Awakens_Theatrical_PosterOut: 17th December

Director: J J Abrahams

Starring: Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley

What’s it about? Set approximately 30 years after The Return of the Jedi, the seventh film in the Star Wars franchise features new leads alongside returning characters. Plot details have been closely guarded, so we will all have to wait until December 17th to have any real idea what it’s about.

Will it be good? I honestly feel like it isn’t really my place to say, seeing as I haven’t seen any of the other six films. Popular opinion appears to suggest that the original trilogy was cinematic gold, whilst the more recent trilogy appears to get a bit of stick. However, J J Abrahams managed to bring Star Trek to a new generation, so there is no reason why he can’t work his magic on Star Wars too.

VICTOR FRANKENSTEIN:

Victor_Frankenstein_2015Out: December 3rd

Director: Paul McGuigan

Starring: James McAvoy, Daniel Radcliffe

What’s it about? Based on Mary Shelly’s 1819 novel Frankenstein, the film is told from the perspective of Victor Frankenstein’s (James McAvoy) assistant Igor (Daniel Radcliffe) as he witnesses the experiments on his quest to create the famous monster.

Will it be good? The problem with any adaption of this sort is that it immediately has a lot of live up to and will draw comparisons to the wealth of other existing adaptions. The film has been met with generally negative reviews thus far, probably due to the aforementioned fact, but the fact that it has two great actors leading the film in the form of McAvoy and Radcliffe means that there is a chance for some entertainment factor.

BY THE SEA:

By_The_Sea_TeaserOut: 11th December

Director: Angelina Jolie Pitt

Starring: Angelina Jolie Pitt, Brad Pitt

What’s it about? Written, directed and starring Angelina Jolie Pitt, the film is a romantic drama set in 1970s France. Brad Pitt stars alongside his wife, and the film depicts a couple who travel the country together and stop in a seaside town.

Will it be good? This is the first film that Brangelina will star in together since Mr and Mrs Smith (2005), the film on which they met. Jolie Pitt has shown that she can be a strong director with Unbroken earlier this year, and the fact that the lead pair are together in real life suggests that they will have the chemistry necessary to pull of a romantic plot. Chances are this will be a good, if somewhat understated, piece.

SISTERS:

Sisters_movie_poster (1)Out: 18th December

Director: Jason Moore

Starring: Amy Poehler, Tina Fey

What’s it about? Two sisters – one carefree and spontaneous (Tina Fey) and the other cautious and uptight (Amy Poehler) – decide to throw one last party when their parents announce they are selling their childhood home.

Will it be good? Here’s hoping. Poehler and Fay are a double act to be reckoned with, and there is no doubt that these two can make pretty much anything hilarious. The trailer looks promising and director Moore was behind 2012 smash-hit Pitch Perfect, so this one is looking pretty promising.

IN THE HEART OF THE SEA:

In_the_Heart_of_the_Sea_posterOut: 26th December 

Director: Ron Howard

Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Cillian Murphy, Ben Wishaw, Charlotte Riley

What’s it about? Based on Nathanial Philbrick’s 2000 book of the same name, which itself is an account of the sinking of the whaling ship Essex in 1820, an incident which inspired Herman Melville’s novel Moby Dick (are you keeping up?), the film tells the story of the crew of the ship Essex as it is attacked by a gigantic sperm whale.

Will it be good? Directed by Ron Howard, the man behind the likes of Apollo 13 (1995), Cocoon (1985) and A Beautiful Mind (2001), hopes are high for this big sea adaption. Apollo 13 in particular showed that Howard knows how to handle a big concept, and the deep sea setting is sure to provide some stunning visuals. A lot is riding on the whale in selling the films visual appeal, and the trailer footage suggests that it won’t disappoint.

DADDY’S HOME:

Daddy's_Home_posterOut: 25th December

Director: Sean Anders

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Will Ferrel

What’s it about? Brad (Ferrel) is the model step-father to his wife’s children, but finds himself battling for their affections when their infinitely cooler father Dusty (Wahlberg) returns to town.

Will it be good? It’s 50/50. Ferrel is hilarious, as is Wahlberg given the right material, so the pairing has the potential to be something pretty funny. That said, they appeared together in The Other Guys (2010), which was met with a positive reception but has since been forgotten. The two actors have appeared in what adds up to a huge number of forgettable comedies, so the odds suggest that this is the category that Daddy’s Home will fall into come the new year.

SNOOPY AND CHARLIE BROWN: THE PEANUTS MOVIE:

Peanuts_2015Out: 21st December

Director: Steve Martino

Starring: Noah Schnapp, Mariel Sheets

What’s it about? The film follows Charlie Brown try to win the affections of the Little Red-Haired Girl, whilst his pooch pal Snoopy pens the story of his WW1 alter ego Flying Ace, who is on a quest to rescue his love Fifi from the Red Baron.

Will it be good? Probably not. It is really hard to adapt a feature length film out of short panel sketches, making the chances of The Peanuts Movie being appealing to anyone other than young children very unlikely. However, to give it the benefit of the doubt, The Lego Movie last year proved that even the flimsiest source material can work with enough imagination – who says the Peanuts crew can’t be the same? The film is already out the in the US and has received positive reviews, so it is probably worth a watch.

So there you have it, the lowdown on all the films that people will be talking about this December. I suggest you get yourself a Cineworld card and join me in watching, dissecting and discussing them all! Let me know what you think of these upcoming releases in the comments section. I am leaving you with an excellent 2015 salute to cinema by Ben Zuk, featuring a staggering 164 films. Enjoy!

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