Knight of Cups
Since carving his name into cinematic history with the polarising yet undisputedly beautiful The Tree of Life (for which he took 2011’s Palme D’Or), visionary experimental director and virtual recluse Terrence Malick makes his return at February’s Berlin Film Festival with Knight of Cups, his first film in three years. With the best and brightest actors of the decade clamouring to work with the auteur of the moment, the film’s trailer showcases a typically star-studded cast; stepping into the shoes of former collaborators Brad Pitt, Jessica Chastain, Ben Affleck and Rachel McAdams are a hedonistic Christian Bale, an aggrieved Cate Blanchett, and Natalie Portman donning her best Black Swan serious face.
Taking its name from a tarot card, Knight of Cups looks set to be a tale of fame, destiny and the transience of human existence – all pretty familiar ground for the man who, in The Tree of Life, documented 20 phenomenal filmic minutes of the birth of the universe sandwiched between a tender study of childhood, family and faith in 50’s Texas. “Once the soul was perfect, and had wings, and could soar into heaven”, narrates an ecclesiastical type over shots of fancy dress angels, birds, winged statues and people jumping off things. It’s standard Malick fare – the kind of film-making that brings the artist-type to tears and the cynic into a boredom-induced coma.
The trailer does though suggest an edgier, more energetic Malick experience than previous works; compared with 2012’s To the Wonder, a tale of the fragility of love and loving, Knight of Cups looks set to offer an almost Fincher-esque pulsating darkness that may see it reach a wider cinematic audience than its predecessors. It promises to be as bold, adventurous and as daring as Malick’s previous works in what it attempts to say and how it attempts to say it. This is a definite must for fans of proper filmmaking.
It has been a long 14 years since the release of Jurassic Park III, and this year we will finally see another instalment of the fantastic film series, Jurassic World. We return to see a fully realised park where tourists flock to interact up close and personal with the dinosaurs. But it wouldn’t be a Jurassic Park movie if something didn’t go wrong! That means more chase scenes, more tense hiding moments and the introduction of new dinosaurs into the mix, the most interesting being the new genetically modified dinosaur hybrid that is made to attract tourists but ultimately will end up snacking on them. Like the male protagonist, Owen, says in the trailer: “You went and made a new dinosaur? Probably not a good idea…”
Speaking of which, I am particularly excited to see Chris Pratt playing the lead role in this film. He has a fantastic track record of providing an immense likability and hilarious style of humour to all his previous roles, including Star Lord in Guardians of the Galaxy, Emmett in The Lego Movie and Andy Dwyer in the TV series Parks and Recreation. Although he is taking on a much more serious role with this movie, Pratt is still likely to bring a fresh sense of light-heartedness and wit to his character.
Overall, it is exciting to see the resurgence of a film series that will almost certainly provide many of us with a strong sense of nostalgia. Hopefully bringing it back to life will not come with the same dire consequences as the revival of the dinosaurs!
“Is it too late to change the name?”
Not the dark and gritty reimagining of Honey I Shrunk the Kids that we’ve all been waiting for, but the newest offering from Marvel Studios about a superhero who can change his size and control insects. Frankly, how can anyone fail to be excited by the concept of a hero who could, if he so wished, fly a bumblebee into battle?
Ant-Man was originally the brainchild of geek legend Edgar Wright (he of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz fame), who eventually left after a decade in development. Though this isn’t the best sign for an upcoming movie, the script comes courtesy of Adam McKay (Anchorman) and is based on a story by Wright and Joe Cornish (Attack the Block). The comedy connections alone give us the hope that if nothing else this movie will manage to raise a smile.
Following the sublime Guardians of the Galaxy and with the upcoming Avengers sequel, Marvel have arguably become the new Pixar – despite an occasionally spotty record they never fail to entertain. At this point they could crank out a remake of Howard the Duck or release a Squirrel Girl movie (yes, they both exist – comics are a weird medium) and audiences would still flock to the cinemas. If everything goes to plan then Ant-Man should be something different, something weird and hopefully, something special.
The Good Dinosaur
Pixar’s ability to capture the ‘what if’ nature of children’s imagination has led to some of the most successful animation films of all time. November will see the long awaited release of The Good Dinosaur (let’s hope the plot is more imaginative than the title), a story set in an alternative reality where dinosaurs never became extinct. It follows a young dinosaur called Alvo who becomes separated from his family and finds friendship with a human boy. Neil Patrick Harris and John Lithgow are among the voices for this picture, which has been a mystery for the past few years, with a delayed release date and a change in director generating even more anticipation for its release.
With Finding Dory and Toy Story 4 also in the works, Pixar will be hoping The Good Dinosaur can prove they are still able to produce original films of the quality they gained such a paramount reputation for. Any avid Pixar fan will be excited to finally see some original material and hoping that the sweet story will be blossoming with the traditional Pixar charm we’ve been missing.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2
The last instalment of The Hunger Games film adaptions is set to be a good one. As this is the final opportunity for us to see the characters that we have grown to love being portrayed on the big screen, we are sure to be left with a lasting impression. Although it is a sad day that this will be the last time that Jennifer Lawrence makes an appearance on our screens as Katniss Everdeen, I am certain that she will end her role with a blaze of glory fitting for such a phenomenal character.
With the gap between the release dates of Part 1 and Part 2 being an entire year, we will just have to wait patiently to see how the story continues after the tense conclusion of the former film. Fans of the book series will likely already know what to expect from the final movie, but for those have not read the books it will be exciting to find out what happens with Katniss and the rebellion against the Capitol. It is sure to be enjoyable either way, since director Francis Lawrence and the brilliant cast have always done an outstanding job with the previous film adaptions. There is no doubt that The Hunger Games Mockingjay Part 2 will be a film to remember!