Film Review: Slaughterhouse Rulez

I had high hopes for this movie going in because of the presence of Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Michael Sheen and the fact that I love horror comedies. The problem is that this film, despite a few nice touches, is a big old mess.

slaughterhouserulez

The plot is simple, working class lad Don (Finn Cole), starts at the exclusive public school Slaughterhouse, renowned for producing leaders and famous figures. When he gets there he has to deal with rigid social hierarchies which keep him from being able to talk to Clemsie (Hermione Corfield), the object of his affection, and the sadistic prefect Clegg (Tom Rhys-Harries). His guide into this world is sarky misfit Willoughby (Asa Butterfield), who is an outsider at the school, bullied by Clegg and his goons, and still grieving the suicide of his former roommate.

The headmaster, nicknamed The Bat (Sheen) has done a deal with a fracking company to mine in the woods, and this drilling soon unleashes long dormant creatures. Can Don and Willoughby survive? Will Don get his girl?

Here’s the thing about this movie, there are a few good laughs along the way. There are some choice insults thrown around, a bit of slapstick, some ghoulishly gory deaths and some genuinely funny lines. The problem is that the film doesn’t quite get the horror part right, the creatures aren’t that scary when we see them and the film delays their arrival a bit too long. Perhaps having them pick off one or two minor players in the early stages would have worked better. As it is, the whole pacing of the movie is off and it could have done with an extra death near the end.

This death would have been easily slotted into the film as there are a couple of characters who contribute very little. Our heroic band near the end numbers seven, but they are far from magnificent. Finn Cole’s Don is our entrance into the world and rather likeable as the fish out of water and props to the film for making it’s female lead, Clemsie, confident and useful. The star amongst the kids is Butterfield, who injects genuine pathos into the character of Willoughby, and imbues the character with a louche charm.

The others however, are rather underdone, Clemsie’s best friend Kay, played by Isabella Laughland, is introduced as the clever character and is likeable enough, but doesn’t bring much to the table. Even villainous Clegg, despite being highly detestable feels like the actor doing an impression of Draco Malfoy crossed with Patrick Bateman.

That’s one issue, but there’s also the fact that several plot points are easy to spot from a mile away, and there are no real surprises along the way. This is a major problem for a horror comedy, as you despite the comedy aspect you still need a bit of suspense, and this doesn’t really build that well enough, preferring to go for gory gags instead. It does these rather well, but with the poorly rendered characters there’s not much to really hook you in.

The adult performers are far from their best, and while Sheen and Pegg deliver quite a few laughs along the way, Frost’s anti-fracking character is rather poorly done. It’s the actor, rather than the role that carries it off. There’s also a subplot about Pegg’s cricket obsessed teacher and his lover (Margot Robbie), which has no weight and goes nowhere.

Basically, this is a bit of a mediocre movie. There are just about enough laughs and OTT gory moments to carry it off, but it lacks a real cutting edge and goes for lazy gags far too often. Decidedly average.

Verdict: Butterfield is the standout amongst the kids, but doesn’t get much competition. The script has a few nice lines, but the plot is formulaic and some of the gags are a bit easy. It passes the time, but won’t stay with you. 6/10.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.

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Film Review: Mission: Impossible- Fallout

I’m not gonna lie, I’d kinda lost track of the Mission: Impossible franchise. It turns out that this is the sixth film and I’ve missed the previous instalment, Rogue Nation. Luckily, this film does a good job of getting you up to speed before the action kicks in.

mifall pos

It’s been two years since Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) stopped former MI6 agent turned anarchist Solomon Lane (Sean Harris), stopping his international syndicate of rogue agents. While many of his associates have been taken out in the intervening period there are several who have never been identified and they continue to work as terrorists for hire. Hunt is tasked with stopping the sale of three plutonium cores which could make nuclear weapons.

Unfortunately, during the operation Hunt’s friend Luther (Ving Rhames) is held at gunpoint, and the cores are stolen. The cores are held by the Apostles, Lane’s followers. They are to be sold to John Lark, a fundamentalist terrorist, however, nobody can ID Lark as all his associates have been taken out by the CIA. Hunt is reluctantly partnered with Walker (Henry Cavill) a CIA agent to take Lark out of the picture, pose as Lark and get the nukes back. Walker’s boss describes him as hammer to Hunt’s scalpel, and the character is portrayed as a powerhouse, and revealed to be the man behind taking out most of Lane’s associates. Their contrasting approaches and outlooks cause tensions as the two men are forced to work together.

mifall cavill

The mission hits complications, including the arrival of Ilsa (Rebecca Ferguson), who previously worked with Hunt in bringing down Lane, a former colleague at MI6. Lark is killed and Hunt can’t create a mask, so wings it, cosying up to the broker known as the White Widow (Vanessa Kirby). Things become more complicated when it’s revealed that the deal is for the nukes to be traded to Lark after he helps break Lane out of custody.

Of course, Lane will recognise Hunt and Hunt’s reluctant to kill a bunch of French coppers. So, he double crosses the Widow’s team and extracts Lane himself, hoping that he can still make the trade for the nukes and save the world from disaster.

I really loved this movie. Like I said, it fills in the back story quickly enough and in a way that doesn’t resort to some bloke spouting exposition. That out of the way the whole movie is a roller coaster of thrills and spills, with plenty of double crosses and twists along the way.

Right at the centre of this is Cruise as Hunt. Cruise is brilliant in the action hero role, convincing in the fight scenes and bringing a lot of charisma to the role. Given that he’s been playing Hunt for over twenty years (man, I feel old now) he seems utterly at home as the character who is a mix of seemingly indestructible super spy and blagger. At several points the well laid plans unravel and Hunt is forced to wing it, which adds fun and unpredictability to the proceedings.

mifall cruise

It’s also good that as we seem him survive all these threats and dangers, that Hunt remains human and vulnerable, in part due to his connections with other people, not just his team but the wife he had to leave and now lives in hiding. It’s a human aspect and well handled, particularly in a scene where Luther explains the situation to Ilsa, urging her to back away as his feelings for her make Ethan vulnerable.

The supporting cast are solid from Rhames as his right hand man and best friend, to Simon Pegg’s techie comic relief. But the great strength is that a lot of the characters are quite ambiguous and you’re not sure who Hunt can trust beyond his core group. Is Cavill’s Walker on the level, or does he have other orders from the CIA? How much faith should we place in Alec Baldwin’s boss character? What is Ilsa’s involvement?

There’s a surprising amount of humour in the film, which worked for me, especially in the dialogue between the team and some of Hunt’s reactions as things spiral out of control around him.

mifall team

Another plus point is Sean Harris’ villain Lane, who is shown to be capable, vicious and ruthless, but without lurching into caricature. In fact, his softly spoken performance gives the character more gravitas and holds the attention better than any ranting supervillain would.

But the film thrives on it’s action sequences, and they are absolutely wonderful. Car chases, rooftop chases, parachuting through a thunder storm, shoot outs, fist fights, helicopter chases, helicopter chases all leave the audience perched on the edge of their seat. There are unbearably tense scenes, near misses and amazing visuals, the whole movie a brilliant thrill ride that locks you in, even when the stunts reach ridiculous levels. As I said, Hunt is beyond tough, surviving crashes and bruising brawls and somehow still having enough in the tank to run full pelt for ages. Despite this, you can’t look away and WoM and I were fully engrossed in the movie.

Given that I lost interest halfway through Spectre, it’s glad that someone is still making entertaining spy movies, and I’m definitely ready for the seventh movie now.

Verdict: Action packed but with moments of humour and genuine heart, this is a hugely entertaining spy thriller with plenty of turns in the road. Fantastic fun. 8/10.

Any thoughts? You know what to do? BETEO.


Movie Review: The World’s End

I love Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright’s work together, from their awesome sitcom Spaced through their big screen collaborations Shaun of The Dead and Hot Fuzz. These two movies formed parts 1 and 2 of the Cornetto trilogy, and this movie is the third installment.

The reason the movies work is because they have incredibly funny, clever scripts with lots of little gags and callbacks layered in and a sense that it’s all been very well thought out before hand. There’s also a real British feel to them, from Shaun’s blundering adventures against the undead to the incongruous action set pieces taking place in a quiet village street.

Having taken on the zombie horror and buddy cop action genres, here they turn towards science fiction.

theworldsend

In the early ’90s five teenage friends from Newton Haven set out to complete the local pub crawl, “the Golden Mile”, which took in all 12 pubs in the town. They failed to make the last pub, The World’s End.

Now as adults, all have moved on into worlds of working, marriage and responsibility, all save the group’s leader, Gary King (Pegg), who sees the pub crawl as the best night of his life, and is still stuck in the past, dressing and acting like his teenage self. Not finishing does bother him and he decides to reunite his old friends and try again, despite not having seen them in years.

The friends are less enthusiastic about it but he manages to convince Peter (Eddie Marsan), Steven (Paddy Considine) and Oliver (Martin Freeman) to come along, although all are skeptical about his chances of convincing his former best friend Andy (Nick Frost), to come along, with a rift having formed between them. The teetotal Andy reluctantly agrees and they head for their old hometown.

The gang together again (l-r: Freeman, Considine, Pegg, Frost and Marsden)

The gang together again (l-r: Freeman, Considine, Pegg, Frost and Marsan)

They start out on the crawl, his friends by turns amused and irritated by Gary’s antics, his selective memory and the way he acts as though they’re still teenagers. The situation is made tenser by the arrival of Oliver’s sister, Sam (Rosamund Pike), who Gary hooked up with in the past, and who Steven always carried a torch for.

Following an argument about Gary’s insensitivity, Gary ends up in a fight with a local youth. During the scrap, the boy’s head comes off and it’s revealed he’s a robot. The others arrive and fight other robots. With Andy having fallen off the wagon they’re all too drunk to drive home, and they have to follow Gary’s plan- continuing on the crawl so that the others don’t figure out they know something’s up and then leaving in the morning.

How far does the robot invasion go and to what purpose? Who can they trust? Can they evade detection? Can the wounds of the past heal and allow them to rebuild their friendships? And can five older blokes really finish a pub crawl that was too much for their 18 year old selves?

I quite liked this movie, although it doesn’t quite match Shaun or Fuzz, but then again, those two films benefit from repeated viewings allowing you to notice more things and get gags you missed the first time around, so maybe rewatching this will help it grow in my estimation.

That’s not to say it’s not a belting movie and there are some great laugh out loud moments, and the script is smart and witty.

What it benefits most from is a sensational performance from Simon Pegg. In the earlier films he’s played more of the straight man to Nick Frost, but here their roles are reversed. It’s a brave decision to tinker with the formula, but it works because in Gary King they’ve created a brilliant character.

Gary’s a bit of a tool. He’s arrogant, insensitive, kinda dumb and self centred, but Pegg manages to make him likable despite all this and really captures the kind of tragic vibe of the character. This is a man who at 18 had the world at his feet, he was popular, cool and had his mates. In the flashback to the first pub crawl, despite failing on the crawl there’s still a sense of optimism in Gary as he watches the sun come up.

Sadly, since then life hasn’t panned out the way he thought. Troubled and unable to move with the times, he’s stalled in a depressing version of his 18 year old self- he dresses the same way, drives his old car and plays his old music (giving the movie a great soundtrack). He still acts like the cocky cool kid, but now his friends regard him with annoyance, pity and mocking rather than their former respect.

Pegg as Gary, a rather sad figure

Pegg as Gary, a rather sad figure

It’s clear from the start that there’s more to Gary’s troubles than just regretting not making the end of the mile. What Pegg does extremely well is that he manages to capture Gary’s obnoxious side while also subtly showing the character’s sadness. It’s a brilliant performance, with Pegg handling the shifts in tone well and managing to make a swaggering, oafish man-child into a character the audience empathizes and grudgingly likes.

Pegg’s regular on-screen partner, Nick Frost does a great job too. Usually playing the louder, funnier characters he does a great job as the quiet, increasingly fed up Andy. There’s a real gentle touch in the way he hints at the rift between his character and Gary, and towards the film’s close the two really tug the heartstrings as they’re forced to confront their differences. Frost is brilliant, and especially good is the way that when the brown stuff hits the fan, the old drunken brawling rugby player emerges again.

Andy (Frost) cuts loose

Andy (Frost) cuts loose

The rest of the five give good performances, with Eddie Marsan in particular being rather endearing as the group’s weakling, who’s the first to start falling back into old roles around Gary. Paddy Considine also does well in the role of Steven, who was always second fiddle to Gary, but has grown up to be more confident and secure than his former friend.

Martin Freeman is one of a handful who appear in all three movies, with Bill Nighy, Rafe Spall and Julia Deakin all cropping up during the movie too.

I think what makes the movie stumble a bit is the sci-fi set up, with the whole replaced people being a nice idea and some nice touches, but there’s something less cinematic about it than in the other films. Shaun always felt like a side story from a big zombie apocalypse movie, and Fuzz’s shootouts are shot like any OTT Jerry Bruckheimer movie, but this movie doesn’t feel like a big movie, it just feels like a particularly funny, risque and well done episode of Doctor Who.

Edgar Wright does do a great job, and the script is layered and well constructed, and visually it fizzes with his typically great framing and editing, but it still falls slightly short.

But I guess like the other films the genre isn’t really the point- Shaun was about a man sorting his life out and growing up, Fuzz was about a dude learning to relax and his friendship with his new partner, and this movie is really about the danger of staying in the past, friendship and the sad but necessary process of change.

Also it has a very well done ending and the movie’s Cornetto moment is ace.

Verdict: It’s the weaker of the three movies, but that’s a pretty high bar and it’s still good for several laughs and boasts a great performance from Pegg. Still a damn sight better than your average comedy flick, although be warned it might make you want to try a pub crawl. 7/10.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


My Favourite Films #20: Shaun of the Dead

This movie is quite frankly awesome.

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I came to it as a fan of Simon Pegg and the director Edgar Wright because of their brilliant TV show Spaced (if you haven’t seen it, track it down ASAP, it is hilarious) and it’s brand of geeky, slacker comedy, so when they announced they were making a movie, and a zombie movie at that I was pretty stoked.

The movie follows hapless electronic shop worker Shaun (Pegg), who’s life has stalled. His relationship with his girlfriend Liz (Kate Ashfield) is stuck in a rut mainly because of Shaun’s lazy nature and the fact he seems content to spend his time drinking in his local and playing computer games with his flatmate Ed (Nick Frost). Ed, an unemployed slacker, doesn’t quite click with Liz’s friends David and Dianne (Dylan Moran and Lucy Davis, respectively) and this is exacerbating the situation. David appears to have an issue with Shaun as well, and Shaun suspects he fancies Liz.

This finally leads Liz to break up with him, and the two proceed to get wasted, argue with their slightly more responsible flatmate Pete (Peter Serafinowicz) and pass out. The following day, nursing hangovers, they awake to find that a zombie apocalypse has kicked off. Shaun and Ed hatch a plan to pick up Shaun’s mum and Liz, and hole up in their local pub and wait for the situation to resolve itself.

The gang go undercover as zombies .

The gang go undercover as zombies .

Muddling their way among the hordes of infected, and hopelessly ill suited for the fight, they manage to collect Shaun’s mother Barbara (Penelope Wilton) and stepfather, Phillip (Bill Nighy), who Shaun has a rocky relationship with, before heading off to grab Liz, Dianne and David and head for the Winchester pub. However, their plan to hole up comes undone and they find them beseiged by the zombies.

As the undead close in, the group’s personal issues come to the surface. Can Shaun win Liz back? Who will survive? And if he does make it, will Shaun finally sort himself out?

I’ve rewatched this movie countless times, and it still works, I laugh at the gags despite knowing much of the script, a few of the scares still make me jump and thanks to Wright and Pegg’s wonderful script I frequently pick up on little nods or gags that I’ve missed before.

The script is a delight, with seemingly throwaway lines actually turning to foreshadow later events and some wonderful one liners thrown around. But much more than just being a gagfest the film succeeds in being genuinely affecting, with some extremely touching moments particularly in the moments where Shaun and Phillip belatedly work out some of their differences.

It also doesn’t skimp on the zombie aspect either, and although they are largely played for laughs, they’re still done extremely well and there’s plenty of gore and jumpy moments, so it’s not for the faint of heart.

sod zombies

Pegg does a sensational job in the lead as the slobbish loser who has to pull himself together and be more proactive, and who after initially struggling does rise to the challenge of leading his group. Well, kinda.

Pegg manages to capture his indecision and slacker vibe, but keeps him likable and handles the shifts in his emotions well. Stretched to breaking point, he cracks up towards the end, but its a believable response.

While Shaun’s relationship with Liz is central to the plot and it was described as “rom-zom-com”, the major relationship is actually between Shaun and Ed. That’s not to say that the love story doesn’t engage, it is well handled and a rather sweet examination of the dangers of becoming complacent in a relationship.

But the Shaun and Ed bromance is key to the film, and Pegg’s on-screen chemistry with Nick Frost is delightful. Ed is a loudmouth, slobbish buffoon and at times infuriating, but there’s a sweet core to their friendship, and Ed seems to realize towards the end that he has been holding his friend back. Shaun for his part clings to his friendship like a sort of comforter, something from when he was young and stupid and it didn’t matter. It’s not until Shaun can move past his slacker ways that he can achieve anything with his life, but is he ready to make that jump and turn his back on Ed?

Out of their depth- The not so dynamic duo of Shaun and Ed

Out of their depth- The not so dynamic duo of Shaun and Ed

Their changing relationship is quite emotional and will resonate with anybody who’s felt their group of friends shift or realized they have to change and move forward. They bicker and hide their emotions, but there’s genuine warmth and love underneath it all, and the script and performances convey this wonderfully.

The other thing that I love about the movie is it’s Britishness. Several characters have a kind of British approach to things (not wanting to make a fuss, putting the kettle on) and unlike US zombie flicks there aren’t many firearms floating about meaning that the characters have to improvise with whatever’s lying about, which is the source for some very funny moments in the movie.

That's not cricket!

That’s not cricket!

Edgar Wright’s direction is glorious too, with fast cuts and inventive transitions between scenes, wonderful timing and some great visual gags. The film whips along at great pace and the editing is superb, especially in a scene where Shaun and Ed repeatedly change their plan of attack, the sequence getting faster and shorter each time. It’s hard to explain why it works, but trust me, it does.

The movie was the opening installment in what became the three Cornetto trilogy, and the second movie Hot Fuzz contains little nods to this, which only serves to enhance the enjoyment of both films, but even on their own both are hilarious, well done movies and I’m eager to see the final part, The World’s End soon.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO


Movie Review: Star Trek Into Darkness

J.J. Abrams is a brave dude, back in 2009 he risked annoying a world of Trekkies by rebooting the original line up with new actors in the iconic roles, luckily however he managed to pull it off rather well, creating an interesting spin which took likable, familiar characters and gave them a new spin and changed their universe slightly. I loved the first flick and so was keen to see if Abrams could expand on his success.

stid pos

The movie picks up Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) aboard the Enterprise, where he breaks the Prime Directive (a rule to stop interference in developing civilizations) to save a planet from a volcanic eruption and in the process reveals the presence of his ship to the locals in order to save the life of his first officer Spock (Zachary Quinto), who had told him to leave him behind, angering his partner Lt. Uhura (Zoe Saldana).

Spock’s report lands Kirk in hot water and he is stripped of his command, but old friend Pike (Bruce Greenwood), the Enterprise’s new commanding officer, sorts it that he will serve as his first officer.

Meanwhile, a mysterious figure orchestrates a bomb attack on a Starfleet facility in London, killing several. This leads Kirk, Pike and Spock to attend a meeting with Admiral Marcus (Peter Weller), where the culprit is revealed to be John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch) a Starfleet agent gone rogue. Harrison attacks the meeting, killing Pike in the process before he flees to the Klingon home planet.

Kirk asks to pursue Harrison and is sent out with brand new long range torpedoes to destroy the uninhabited area that Harrison is hiding out in. The new payload causes a rift between Kirk and his chief engineer Scotty (Simon Pegg), who resigns his commission and leaves the ship. Kirk is also arguing with Spock, who believes that the mission is not morally right and Harrison should stand trial.

Kirk also meets a new science officer, Carol Wallace (Alice Eve), who he finds attractive, but whom Spock regards with suspicion.

Kirk changes the mission and leads a small team onto the planet, risking war, and after saving them from Klingons, Harrison surrenders and is taken aboard.

Harrison (Cumberbatch) imprisoned aboard the Enterprise.

Harrison (Cumberbatch) imprisoned aboard the Enterprise.

Once aboard Kirk orders an investigation into the new missiles and begins to realize that all might not be as it seems, and that Harrison might be more than just an agent. Can Kirk expose the conspiracy and safeguard the lives of his crew?

I came out of this movie with a big grin on my face, and thoroughly enjoyed it. I’m a massive fan of the original Star Trek and it’s characters, but I think Abrams has done a great job in rebooting them and it’s lots of fun for older fans to see the new spin on old features of the universe (the new Klingons are badass) and the cast are fantastic.

Chris Pine in particular is great as Kirk, capturing the swaggering, womanizing aspects of the character, but also allowing signs of weakness and uncertainty to creep in, making him a far more human and fallible. Pine ticks all the right boxes as the heroic lead and does a brilliant job of bringing new intensity to the vengeance seeking Kirk as well as showing a more fragile side as he battles a crisis of confidence.

Pine as Kirk- crisis of confidence

Pine as Kirk- crisis of confidence

It’s a more mature Kirk than in the previous film and while still fun and reckless, as the film progresses the captain is forced to make tough choices and deal with the less pleasant aspects of command.

He’s ably supported by Quinto’s Spock, who’s a delight, bringing a lot of deadpan humour to proceedings and it’s nice to see the friendship between the two develop. Quinto also manages to allow little flashes of emotion to emerge before Spock’s self control locks them down and conveys a lot in small fluctuations in facial features.

The rest of the crew do well, even if several feel underused, although it’s nice to see Simon Pegg’s Scotty get a bit more to do this time around and Zoe Saldana does well with what she gets, continuing to make Uhura a more strong willed and vital part of the ship’s crew. Her scenes with Quinto as they play out the characters’ romance are done well, with Spock’s logical exterior causing problems for them, and there’s an adorable moment where Uhura goes up on her tiptoes to kiss him.

Karl Urban’s Bones could still be used more, but he does very well in capturing the character’s sarky, world weary side and is used to good comedic effect.

But the big story is the villain, played by man of the moment Benedict Cumberbatch. Cumberbatch does a brilliant job, playing the villain with quiet intensity that then explodes into flashes of intense savagery. He manages to bring menace to the character and plays it with a cool, enigmatic touch and detached arrogance. He doesn’t steal the film by any stretch but he definitely succeeds in holding the audience’s attention and presenting a realistic threat to the goodies.

The plot is handled well and the film’s pacing is on point, and for once the current trend of “going darker” for a sequel works, with cracks starting to appear in Gene Roddenberry’s idyllic vision of the future and the sign that despite technological advantages, mankind’s greatest threat comes from human failings and weakness.

But the film never loses it’s sense of fun and the script has some great, funny dialogue. Abrams executes the explosive action sequences with great aplomb, and keeps it moving along nicely.

There are a few flaws in the movie, with a few plot points being telegraphed fairly early on, and a couple of the twists are easy to see, and as I mentioned, several of the characters are underused, but on balance it’s a massive success and I personally think that Abrams might be better served sticking with Trek over Wars.

Verdict: A great sci-fi blockbuster which expands on the first film and benefits from a great villain. The cast are all on fine form and there’s a real sense of humour to proceedings. Captures the spirit of the old series while delving a little deeper. The plot is solid if slightly predictable, but it’s fantastically fun.  8/10.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


10 Movies I’m Most Looking Forward To At The Moment

In no real order but these are the movies I’m looking forward to most at the moment, all release dates are the UK ones listed on IMDb.com

1. Django Unchained

I might have been let’s say “underwhelmed” by his last two directorial outings, but a new Quentin Tarantino movie is always going to be cause for excitement in this geek and the signs are good. A pretty impressive cast and a trailer which makes it look like a cool, fun flick that plays with the Western genre conventions and it seems to ooze cool and QT’s patented mix of dark humour, violence and badassery.

Has QT returned to his best?

Has QT returned to his best?

Release Date: 18th Jan

2. Iron Man 3

Robert Downey Jr as Tony Stark is one of the best pieces of casting in years and just as the first film started the road towards the Avengers movie the building for Avengers 2 starts here, it looks as though they’re going to go a little darker and introducing the Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) a powerful villain who should present a fun new challenge. Away from the explosions and fights I’m quite interested to see how they continue to develop the relationship between Tony and Pepper (Gwyneth Paltrow)

RD: 26th April

3. World War Z

An adaptation of one of my favourite books of all time and featuring one of my favourite actors, Brad Pitt, this zombie flick looks genuinely impressive and epic in scope. They’ve clearly made changes from the awesome novel, but it still looks well worth a watch.

First glimpse of the cool, swarming zombies from World War Z

First glimpse of the cool, swarming zombies from World War Z

RD: 21st June

4. Man of Steel

Superman Returns was dire, but this looks like an improvement. Be interesting to see how Zack Snyder deals with having to rein in his trademark OTT, stylized visuals and the casting of Supes’ daddies seems quite inspired- Russell Crowe as Kryptonian papa Jor-El and Kevin Costner as nice guy Jonathan Kent, the man who would shape Kal-El into the protector of truth, justice and the American way.

RD: 14th June

5. This is the End

A fantastic cast of Hollywood funnymen (Seth Rogen, James Franco, Jay Baruchel, Jonah Hill, Danny McBride and Craig Robinson) play versions of themselves as they try and cope with the Apocalypse, looks like it might be quite a weird and fun movie, and the cast are consistently good value for money.

thisistheend

RD: 28th June

6. The Wolverine

I may have been burned by the clawed mutant’s previous solo outing but Hugh Jackman is awesome as Logan, and the idea of him fighting ninjas in Japan sounds like an awesome premise. Here’s hoping they don’t blunt his claws so much this time.

RD: 26th July

7. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

The follow up to one of my favourite films from last year will see Jennifer Lawrence return as Katniss Everdeen as she takes on new challenges in the dystopian Pan-Em. Keen to see where the story goes, although I’ll probably read the books first.

RD: 22nd Nov

8. Warm Bodies

Nicholas Hoult plays a zombie in an undead future who starts to regain his humanity after falling for one of the uninfected. Saw the trailer last week and it made me laugh and seems like it might be a fun, oddly sweet zom-com.

warmbodies

RD: 8th Feb

9. GI Joe: Retalliation

The Rock and Bruce Willis, ’nuff said.

RD: 27th March

10. The World’s End

Simon Pegg, Edgar Wright and Nick Frost round off their three Cornetto’s trilogy as a group of friends stage a pub crawl as the end of the world looms. The first two flicks from the Pegg-Wright team were belters so I’ve got high hopes for this one.

theworldsend

RD: 14th Aug

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.


The Princess, Pegg and the Paparazzi

Last week there was a massive furore over the fact that some French magazine published topless photographs of Prince William’s wife, the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton.

Kate Middleton, the second hottest royal.

On hearing this I had a mixture of feelings, I felt bad for the woman, I mean it must be embarrassing and when I learnt more a little bit outraged, but also, I can’t deny that there was a little part of me that was curious to see the breasts that a future ruler of this country may suckle on. I didn’t look though, as quite frankly it all feels rather distasteful.

Unlike the scandal over the pictures of Prince Harry (see my thoughts on that here) this was a whole different kettle of fish, Harry had drunkenly been a bit silly and the pictures were mildly embarrassing. His sister-in-law was in a far worse situation, firstly she must be painfully aware of the fact that around the world millions of people must have perved over her, which must feel like a terrible violation.

Believing herself to be in a private area Kate decided to sunbathe naked, something that many people will do on holidays (not this fat bastard though, I want to keep the number of people who have seen the Page mannaries to a minimum) and something she is entitled to chose to do. Sadly however she didn’t figure on some scumbag with a telescopic lens taking snapping away.

Its a sad state of affairs where this kind of thing is allowed, its a massive invasion of privacy and morally wrong. Nobody should be photographed without their say so, especially when in a state of undress and relaxation.

In a tweet Simon Pegg summed things up pretty well:

Peeping Toms, if caught in the act of invasive voyeurism, simply claim to be a photojournalist and marvel as your perversion is legitimised!

Simon Pegg bang on the money.

Imagine if somebody was taking photos of you, or your partner, sister, or daughter without her knowing? And then sharing them around the place? How would you feel? Not good. You’d feel humiliated, violated and from then on be constantly on guard.

The paparazzi, who aren’t journalists in any way shape or form, will try to use the “public interest” argument or say that Kate is in the public eye. So? Does that strip her of her rights to privacy and dignity? In choosing to marry the man she loves did she somehow agree to sacrifice the rights and freedoms that the rest of us take for granted?

I have little time for the paparazzi. As someone who still clings to a vague dream of being a journalist I always wanted to be a writer like Hunter S Thompson or one of those war correspondents, delivering comment and information that was in the public interest. Exposing corruption, highlighting injustice and keeping the public informed of the world they live in.

The paparazzi and celebrity journalism in general don’t do this. In this instance, other than to satisfy perverse curiosity, how were these pictures in the public interest? It wasn’t as if Kate was caught doing something untoward, and even if she was misbehaving this is a massive overstepping of the boundaries. She was merely trying to enjoy herself on holiday and catch some rays, does the public need to see that? Does it enhance our insight into her character, does it effect how she will be able to conduct her duties as a member of the royal family? No. It is merely a twisted, voyeuristic streak that should not be indulged. I hope that the photographer in question is prosecuted because it is an invasion of privacy, and this kind of thing should not be encouraged.

I won’t judge those who looked at the pictures, I understand the curiosity people would have had, and felt it myself, but I’m hoping that others resisted the urge to have a peek at them.

Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.