Ever since Star Wars spinoff, Rogue One was confirmed by Disney, the question of whether the galaxy’s ultimate villain would return has been circling the interwebs. Being set between Episode’s III and IV, Rogue One certainly has a chance of Darth Vader appearing in a bigger form than the half melted helmet we saw in The Force Awakens. Now, it seems that the rumours have been confirmed.
James Earl Jones will be making a triumphant return as the voice of Darth Vader in Rogue One. How exactly Vader will be integrated into the story remains to be seen but since the plot revolves around the Rebellions mission to steal the plans of the iconic Death Star, it won’t be too hard to slip him in.
Don’t go expecting for Vader to run the show however. Producer Kathleen Kennedy told Entertainment Weekly ‘He will be in the movie sparingly.’ with the main villain seemingly Ben Mendelsohn’s Director Orson Krennic. Mads Mikkelsen meanwhile, is playing a character named Galen Erso, a designer of the Death Star. On the Rebellion side we have Felicity Jones and Forest Whitaker playing Jyn Erso and Saw Gerrara respectively. Rogue One is due out December 16. More news as we get it of course.]]>
Two decades after the first Independence Day invasion, a rebuilt Earth is faced with a new even more determined alien threat. But will mankind’s new space defenses be enough to save humanity this time?
Director Roland Emmerich returns to the beloved world of Independence Day, bringing back Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman and Vivica A. Fox to lead a new generation (Maika Monroe, Jessie T. Usher and Liam Hemsworth) into another intergalactic battle.
It’s a joy to see the old cast return, even if it is without Will Smith who’s character has been unceremoniously killed off-screen. With five screenwriters attached, the twenty year gap is managed well, with the world now having straightened itself up after the last attack, using their newfound alien technology to further their own space age warfare in preparation for more attacks.
But soon enough, the aliens return. Bigger and badder and with all new rebuilt landmarks to destroy. Thankfully, the world is somewhat more prepared this time, with Liam Hemsworth’s Jake Morrison part of the recently built moon base. However, it’s not enough to prepare them for what’s to come.
This long-awaited sequel never manages to top the effect it’s predecessor had on audiences. While visual effects have indeed been updated drastically since 1996, the destruction feels less incredible as a result. More is shown this time, leaving it feeling marginally less impactful.
What’s also disappointing, is the scripts tendency to feel messier in its characterization. At a running time of two hours exactly, (25 minutes shorter than its predecessor) Independence Day: Resurgence somehow manages to cram in more plot threads while not focusing enough on any group to give a sense of who should be the main characters of the piece. It comes as more of a let-down when the younger generation is set up pretty well with Maika Monroe and Jessie T. Usher serving as the family connections to the first installment, only to feel underused.
Perhaps Emerich should have looked to The Force Awakens as inspiration for how to properly pass a story down to the next generation without relying too heavily on the likes of Goldblum and Pullman. It’s even more dismaying to see an awful attempt at retreading the iconic Presidential speech for which the first film is so fondly remembered. Resurgence kicks off with a throwback to this classic moment and that’s really where it should have left it. Instead we get a half-hearted attempt at Bill Pullman again rousing the rally for earths last stand . Though purposefully downplayed it it’s still a transparent attempt to lazily recapture some of the original film’s former glory.
The Ugly Truth
Independence Day: Resurgence is a bigger, darker sequel that hosts the return of the actors that made the first such a success (minus Will Smith) and brings in a new generation of alien attackers to lead the franchise. Unfortunately it doesn’t hold a candle to its far superior predecessor and ultimately becomes a disappointing mess instead of what could have been a fun summer blockbuster.
Review by Johnny Ellis]]>
The somewhat ironically titled Jack Reacher sequel now has an official trailer. Jack Reacher Never Go Back sees Tom Cruise go back to playing the ruthlessly efficient former army intelligence officer based on the bestsellingLee Child book series. This time Reacher finds himself reluctantly caught up in yet another deadly conspiracy when the new head of his former military unit (Cobie Smulders) finds herself framed for espionage. Full official trailer below courtesy of Paramount Pictures.]]>
Litchfield prison introduces an influx of new inmates while Piper (Taylor Schilling) continues her new used panties business and tries to climb up the ladder as the prison’s new kingpin. Meanwhile, Alex (Laura Prepon) deals with becoming an accessary to murder with her new accomplice Lolly (Lori Petty) as she tries desperately to keep the body hidden…
While the majority of season three was a lacklustre event, it’s finale seemed to be setting up for a darker setting for season four with Piper breaking bad in her newly found used panty business and Alex’s prediction of a potential hit man sent after her by Kubra now confirmed. Season four opens by answering the year long question of whether Alex survives her attack in the greenhouse instantly while managing to bring Lolly’s character further into the storyline.
In the broader plot, we return to the rest of the inmates right where we left them, in a moment of freedom as they escape through the empty fence into the lake beyond. With the majority of the regular CO’s having abandoned their post in protest of their contracts – though thankfully Luscheck (Matt Peters) is still around – a new group of CO’s is brought in, the highlight undoubtedly being Brad William Henke’s big brute, Piscatella. But, though Piscatella towers over the inmates menacingly, he is nowhere near as terrifying as CO Humphrey (Michael Torpey) who gives one of the most spine-tingling moments in the season at the end of episode 9, Turn Table Turn as he turns Maritza’s ‘would you rather eat ten dead flies or a baby mouse’ dilemma into a shocking reality.
There’s plenty to love in this fourth season, the majority of which comes in it’s latter half after some six episodes or so of set-up episodes upon which we’ll delve into later, but it feels as though Orange Is The New Black is starting to find its feet again. It’s in the final seven episodes where the tone is swiftly changed and the show becomes much darker than it already has been. One of the most impressive moments comes at the end of episode 7, It Sounded Nicer In My Head when Piper finally realises she has fallen in too deep into the ‘trust no bitch’ persona she was determined to set out, after her newly found friendship with a group of nazi-sympathising inmates results in a shockingly brutal branding from the latina’s. The scene is an utter pain to watch, managing to bring Piper’s character back to the forefront after slipping into the background for much of season three.
Episode seven is already a highlight with it’s focus on Lolly’s back story as we find out more about her pre prison days as a news reporter turned conspiracy theorising schizophrenic but it’s this shocking conclusion that really gives the season it’s first need for the next episode straight away.
In addition to this we also get to finally see the heartbreaking origin of Suzanne ‘Crazy Eyes’ Warren (Uzo Aduba) in episode 11, People Persons. This marks our second Suzanne centred episode after season two’s Hugs Can Be Deceiving and if you thought that was the best they could do with one of the show’s most interesting characters, People Persons manages to top it with ease. As if it wash’t heartbreaking enough to see her romance with Kukudio (Emily Althaus) come to an all-too-short end, we now have to deal with knowing about her tragic reason for landing in Litchfield in a scene that perfectly manages to show us all we need to know without the undoubtedly gory details.
While it’s the second half of the season which holds the more interesting storylines, this inevitably means that there are six tough hours to get through before it becomes worth the binge-watching. That’s not to say there aren’t some highlights in these episodes, but there are definitely more disparaging moments that make the first six episodes a slow watch. Moments like Suzanne and Morello’s hunt for a phantom shower pooper in episode 5, We’ll Always Have Baltomore or the Healy (Michael Harney) centred episode 4 Doctor Psycho which see’s flashbacks of him sporting the most ghastly soul patch. We also get a relationship between Poussey (Samira Wiley) and Soso (Kimiko Glenn) which feels like it’s dropped in out of nowhere and takes a while to settle in nicely to the show.
One of the most disappointing parts of season four however, is the use of new celebrity cook inmate, Judy King (Blair Brown), who is shunned away into her own private cell with Yoga Jones (Constance Shulman) as her cellmate. For the majority of the season, Brown feels like a huge waste of an otherwise interesting character. While there are some nice upbeat moments in her plot like Taystee and co’s determination to make some money off of her through sending photo’s to magazine’s, Judy King would have made a great adversary to Red as she begins her own cookery class. Unfortunately this idea barely even comes into fruition which is even more frustrating.
Thankfully the one niggling plot thread of the dismembered CO/hit man body laying out in the garden is eventually brought into the fore front, but the amount of episodes it takes to finally have this setup payed off feels a touch too long. While it does fit nicely with where the final act of the season takes us, it probably could have worked neater had it been addressed a bit earlier in the season.
The Ugly Truth
With this season’s finale amping up what is sure to be a game-changing turn for season 5, with the death of Poussey acting as a major plot thread for the upcoming mayhem that is soon to follow, season four of Orange Is The New Black feels like it is straightening itself up, especially in it’s second half. It’s not in the same field as it’s strong opening two seasons, but season four is definitely a step up from last season.
Review by Johnny Ellis]]>
The 60th BFI London Film Festival in partnership with American Express is delighted to announce that this year’s Opening Night gala will be Amma Asante’s A UNITED KINGDOM, the true story of Seretse Khama, King of Bechuanaland (modern Botswana), and Ruth Williams, the London office worker he married in 1947 in the face of fierce opposition from their families and the British and South African governments.
The film will receive its European premiere on Wednesday 5 October at the Odeon Leicester Square, attended by cast and filmmakers with Asante, David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike expected on the red carpet. There will be a live cinecast from the London event and simultaneous screenings taking place at cinemas across the UK.
A UNITED KINGDOM is directed by Asante (Belle) from a screenplay by Guy Hibbert (Eye in the Sky), based on the book Colour Bar by Susan Williams. The cast is led by David Oyelowo (Selma) as Seretse Khama with Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl) playing his future wife Ruth Williams. Other cast includes Jack Davenport (Pirates of the Caribbean), Terry Pheto (Mandela), Tom Felton (Harry Potter), Arnold Oceng (Adulthood), Jack Lowden (’71) and Laura Carmichael (Downton Abbey).
Clare Stewart, BFI London Film Festival Director, says:
“Amma Asante’s A UNITED KINGDOM is testament to a defiant and enduring love story that also reveals a complex, painful chapter in British history. We are proud to be opening the 60th BFI London Film Festival with a film of such contemporary relevance, one that celebrates the triumph of love and intelligence over intolerance and oppression, and that confirms Asante as a distinctive and important British filmmaker.”
Director Amma Asante comments:
“It’s a great privilege that A UNITED KINGDOM has been selected as the Opening Night Film of the BFI London Film Festival. The Festival means a lot to me personally, having showcased my very first film, A Way of Life, here and been honoured with the UK Film Talent Award. I’m a proud Londoner and in A UNITED KINGDOM we’ve been able to film in some of the most beautiful parts of the city as well as in the wonderful landscapes of Botswana.”
The film is produced by Rick McCallum (Star Wars), David Oyelowo, Justin Moore-Lewy, Brunson Green (The Help) and Charlie Mason. The film is executive produced by Pathé’s Cameron McCracken, BBC Films’ Christine Langan, the BFI’s Ben Roberts, Ingenious Media’s Eleanor Clark Windo and Guy Hibbert.
The film is a Pathé, BBC Films, BFI, Ingenious presentation with the participation of Canal + and Cine + of a Yoruba Saxon/Harbinger Pictures/Perfect Weekend/ Film United Production of a film by Amma Asante. Pathé will distribute the film in the UK and France and will handle sales throughout the rest of the world.
The 60th BFI London Film Festival in partnership with American Express takes place from Wednesday 5 October-Sunday 16 October 2016. The full Festival programme will be announced on Thursday 1 September 2016.]]>
Jesse makes Quincannon a bet he can’t refuse, Cassidy works to fend off the angels, and Tulip tries to bring Justice to Annville.
Joe Gilgun again provides the main highlights in this slow but intriguing fourth episode, entitled Monster Swamp with his botched attempt at trying to explain the current situation regarding Jesse’s two angelic agents hunting down the power within him, all while carrying an apple pipe. While Jesse continues on still none the wiser on his current predicament, three flashback scenes peppered throughout the episode give a bit more depth to his relationship with his father. While they don’t particularly drive the story too much, the answer to the questions that came with our first glimpse of Jesse’s father seems to be drawing closer.
Meanwhile, Tulip is driven by revenge in the episode’s namesake plot which sees a cold open in which a young girl, Lacie, fall down a swamp hole and die. With Tulip’s anger issues resulting in her accidentally throwing Cassidy out a window in a case of mistaken identity, more hilarity ensues as she desperately rushes him to the hospital and even gives him a kiss for good measure before finding out his bloodthirsty secret.
Again this week, Jesse seems to be very restrained when using his power, opting to bide his time and convert Jackie Earle Haley’s previously stubborn anti-religious Quincannon. It’s a smart power move having a congregation witness this apparent miracle and gives an interesting route for Quincannon’s character for next week.
Perhaps the most intriguing piece of information that Monster Swamp gives us is the fact that Flore and DeBlanc are down on earth without permission. Sitting nervously in waiting for Cassidy to bring Jesse to them as they bicker over whether to call up their ambiguous unnamed boss and risk revealing what they’re up to.
After last week’s episode seemingly picked up the pace and powered on with the story, this weeks again drops it slightly. Four episodes in, Jesse’s lack of usage on his power is beginning to become a problem. It’s also with a heavy heart that we find the Johnny Cash motif has well and truly been dropped.
The Ugly Truth
Another slow burner this week, but with enough entertaining moments (mainly from Joe Gilgun’s wickedly dry and sarcastic performance) to keep us going as the plot thickens a touch more.
Review by Johnny Ellis]]>
Star Trek actor Anton Yelchin has died after a freak car accident at his Los Angeles home. The news leaves his fans, family and co-stars in heartbroken shock and disbelief.
Young rising star Yelchin had appeared in film’s such as Alpha Dog, Green Room & Like Crazy as well as playing Pavel Chekov in the new Star Trek trilogy. The next installment in he franchise Star Trek Beyond is due for release just next month, with Yelchin once again reprising the iconic role originally made famous by Walter Koenig.
Among the many tributes that have flooded in for the young actor, his Star Trek colleagues have been among the most prominent:
Director JJ Abrams paid tribute to the brilliant Yelchin saying:
“Anton You were brilliant. You were Kind. You were funn as hell, and supremely talented. And you weren’t here nearly long enough. Missing You JJ”
Star Trek Beyond Director Justin Lin added his own praise and devastated response to the news:
“Still in shock. Rest in peace, Anton. Your passion and enthusiasm will live on with everyone that had the pleasure of knowing you.”
Co-star Zachery Quinto who plays Spock in the franchise wrote on instagram:
“Our dear friend. Our comrade. Our Anton. One of the most open and intellectually curious people I have ever had the pleasure to know. So enormously talented and generous of heart. Wise beyond his years. And gone before his time. All love and strength to his family at this impossible time of grief.”
No doubt fans across the world will hare those sentiments and more the loss of one of cinemas brightest young lights.]]>
Appearing in London to promote new a new high tech condom called Lelo Hex, Charlie Sheen spoke to Red Carpet News and the gathered UK press about his HIV diagnosis, Safe Sex, New TV projects, Personal regrets and Family life. Read the full in depth interview below:
How and why did you get involved in supporting this new type of condom?
To nutshell… They sent me one. I tried it and I said let’s do this! It’s exciting on so many fronts and levels. It’s the first change to the condom in 70 years and its not just about changing a dialogue it’s about changing the technology and the appeal. When I… and this is not a joke.. get behind something much like when I went public with HIV, for the first time in 10 years it really brought it out of the shadows and created a wave of interest and mature responsibility and curiosity. They called it the Charlie Sheen effect and I was really proud of that. I felt that by coming forward and putting myself out there that I could help others. So on the heels of that when this showed up.. You know condom use is down, STIs & STDs are way up. So I thought this makes perfect sense, to give people a medical device to genuinely protect themselves and their love ones.
There are times I think about it. I think about what if just those one or two times I didn’t succumb to that awkward moment or feel like this was going to interrupt something passionate and I’d taken that time. You know my story would be different and I feel like maybe other people’s story can be different because of this.
I’d know about Lelo, a buddy of mine his girlfriend used their other products. I was really impressed with them based on the efficacy and his description. So I knew that whatever they were going to present would have equal quality as well as market dominance if that technology found its way into their condoms and it has.
Safe sex is a global problem with condoms not being used in rich countries or available in some of the poorest, how do you think a better designed but more expensive condom will tackle either issue?
I think in the third world scenario the price point can be altered to make them available and accessible and hence distributed in greater numbers. Therein lies the rub.. you come out with something that’s solution driven and then the people who need it the most can’t afford it, but there’s been dialogue with the WHO.
Is it true that you there are potentially plans in place for you to visit Africa to distribute large numbers of free condoms?
Just to speak to that, I will go to Jupiter to deliver solutions, prevention or cure!
Did you have any apprehension about people’s reaction to you becoming the public spokesperson for a condom brand?
You know I can’t predict what’s going to happen. Things with me have been so cross the board and across the universe at times. I have to go with my gut and do what I think is right and for the right reasons. I think my story about why I’m involved is more important than worrying about the perception of being involved. At the risk of sounding arrogant, when I get involved in things or am honest enough to step through the awkward cloud of silence people tend to take notice and this is not a third problem this is an all-world problem. I feel like I can be part of something that again helps others in the prevention of what I live with Daily.
People often describe you as someone who’s really lived life; do you have regrets because of that?
You say lived as though it’s over! You mean continues to live! As for regrets… professionally should have finished Two and a Half Men a little better, a Lot better! Personally perhaps had the Lelo Hex been around in one or two of those moments, my story might be different. But what might have felt like a regret several months ago has transformed itself into an opportunity and a chance to carry the torch and once again be an ambassador of good will and responsible good health
Did you have any initial reservations or second thoughts about coming forward?
No I was greatly relieved. Afterward I wished that I had done it sooner.
Do you think there are other people in Hollywood living with HIV but who don’t have the confidence or support network to come out publicly as you now have?
I don’t know. I sort of had written a story that after I came out others would contact me confidentially, but that hasn’t happened. But that’s their journey. I can only wish them well. But I have had several people just come up to me in the streets and give me a hug and say thank you for giving my mom,father,brother,sister or friend the courage to come forward and hence allow us to embrace and to help. That’s a gift and a moment that you can’t put a price tag on.
Do you feel an added pressure and responsibility as a public figure than perhaps normal people living with an HIV diagnosis would do?
Its fine, I’m tougher than the average bear. If it means going to some far off lands and some dangerous environment to bring some good will, I’m all about that. I don’t see it as being a poster boy I see it as… I mean who else is there right now to generate this amount of attention and good will. This tsunami of attention. If that has become one of my roles on this journey then I’ll take it, because in the hands of an amateur it would not be as effective.
Do you have film and television projects in development right now or people you’re hoping to work with?
There are so many people I’m a fan of who have influenced me the list is too long and yes the worm is turning. There is as we speak corporate interest form the people that make those decisions to put me back on television o in film roles that I think I’ve earned the right to portray. If I speak to specifics it pisses them off and I’m right back to where I was.
How do you feel about getting interviews on stage by Piers Morgan here in London on Sunday for your Audience With Charlie Sheen event?
He’s fabulous, we’ve done interviews twice before and he’s done nothing but be respectful. He does his research, he’ll open the door to a certain path or a certain topic but he won’t grind the person through it. It’s up to me how far we go. When I heard that he had volunteered to take the reins on this thing I was happy as Larry. He will professionally handle the bits and bobs of it all.
Has your attitude to being interviewed changed in any way given your recent experiences?
You know I always just lad with the truth, the only variable in the mix is the interviewer…. (wry grin)
Has living with an HIV diagnosis not just changed your sex lie but your approach to other areas of your life?
Right now I couldn’t get laid in a woman’s prison with a handful of pardons! It doesn’t give you the great opening line. Hey HIV… busy later? But perhaps with Lelo Hex it can. No it is what it is I don’t mean to make light of it. But it changes the whole approach on it because it’s no longer about my interest, my gain, my folly. It’s about the other person and just protecting them. It’s about being open and responsible.
Is talking about safe sex with you own children something you’re nervous about or feel prepared for?
I think we all should be prepare do for that! My oldest child Cassandra is 32 and then it goes Sam & Lola 12/11 Bob & Max 7 and my granddaughter Luna. I don’t want to be having that conversation with any of the younger ones too soon. I’m a little old fashioned that way believe it or not.
What kind of parent are you?
I’m a chauffer I’m an uber driver. I deliver them to school and pick them up afterwards. I’m always on time and I like to think these days I’m leaving every situation I encounter a little better than how I found it. They’re thrilled to have me in their life. I lead by example, I don’t offer unsolicited advice but if anyone has a question… man do I have a lot of answers!
Studiocannal, Blueprint Pictures and BBC Films today reveal first look images of Academy Award winner Colin Firth as amateur sailor Donald Crowhurst and Academy Award winner Rachel Weisz as his wife Claire.
The highly anticipated feature from Academy Award winner James Marsh, the director of The Theory of Everything, will be titled THE MERCY opening in UK cinemas in 2017.
THE MERCY is based on the true story of Donald Crowhurst and his attempt to win the first non-stop single-handed round-the-world yacht race in 1968. The story of Crowhurst’s dangerous solo voyage and the struggles he confronted on the epic journey while his wife Claire and children waited for his return at home is one of the most enduring mysteries of recent times.
Surprising precisely nobody, West End and Broadway musical phenomenon Wicked is finally going to make it’s long overdue and seemingly inevitable transfer to the big screen. The long running musical is based on Gregory Maguire’s alternative history take on The Wizard of Oz, re-telling the familiar fantasy tale from the perspective of the witches. The film version has an official release date of December 20 2019 and Billy Elliot helmer Stephen Daldry is directing.
Casting has yet to be confirmed, leaving open the obvious question of whether the film will use any of the amazing original Broadway or West End casts or opt instead for the box office appeal of high profile Hollywood names.]]>