Director J.J. Abrams and co-writer Damon Lindelof have spent quite a bit of time lately defending the gratuitous but fleeting scene of Alice Eve in her underwear in Star Trek Into Darkness. The initial debate over how sexist this bit of heavy handed fan service really was has in turn sparked wider discussions across the internet about how her character Dr Carol Marcus and Uhura were handled in the latest Star Trek sequel.
Increasingly fierce battle lines have been drawn between those who dismiss the supposed controversy as overblown hysterics and those who see it as a major faux pax for one of the most historically progressive genre franchises. Whilst discussing the issue on Conan, J.J. Abrams shared a clip of a deleted scene of a topless Benedict Cumberbatch having a grumpy shower. Interview video below including the literally steamy clip .
Shown alongside a brief scene of Kirk with his shirt off it seems like this particular Cumberbatch visual treat is supposed to help prove the film really did have at least intentions to take an equal opportunities approach to glimpsing attractive partially naked men and women. While there’s probably some logic in trying to use a naked Benedict Cumberbatch to placate angry fangirls and diffuse the situation; in truth it may only add further fuel to the escalating debate. Particularly as this piece of Space Sherlock fan-service didn’t actually make the final cut of the film.
Here’s the first trailer for Don Jon the directing debut of Joseph Gordon-Levitt. The film sees the surprisingly muscled star playing a swaggering Jersey Shore parody, struggling to choose between his ‘smoking hot’ Guidette dream girl (played by Scarlett Johansson) and his enthusiastic porn addiction.
Leading man Joseph Gordon-Levitt wrote and directed the project, presumably in a determined effort to once and for all dispel any human memory of how much he looked like a girl on long running sitcom 3rd Rock From The Sun. Judging from the evidence below, he may also be the first person to recognize the untapped potential for comedy gold and existential sexual angst provided by the guilty pleasure of trashy MTV reality TV shows.
Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures have released the official UK trailer for Superman reboot Man of Steel. Directed by Zack Snyder (300, Watchmen) and produced by Christopher Nolan, the new film stars Henry Cavill (Immortals,Tudors) in the role of Kryptionian superhero.
The film also stars four-time Oscar nominee Amy Adams as Daily Planet journalist Lois Lane, and Laurence Fishburne as her editor-in-chief, Perry White. Diane Lane and Kevin Costner make their blockbuster return as Clark’s adoptive earth parents. Russell Crowe meanwhile steps into Marlon Brando’s shoes as Superman’s birth father Jor-El.
Squaring off against the superhero are two other surviving Kryptonians, the villainous General Zod, played by Boardwalk Empire star Michael Shannon and Faora, Zod’s evil partner, played by Antje Traue.
Check out the UK trailer below:
Based on real life events and inspired by a Vanity Fair article, The Bling Ring tells the story of a group of celebrity obsessed Californian teenagers who went of a $3million crime spree by burglarizing the homes of wealthy Hollywood stars like Orlando Bloom, Megan Fox, Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan.
Director Sofia Coppola combines a typically well-chosen soundtrack with knowingly flashy visuals to paint a garish portrait of self-entitled adolescents utterly fixated on fame and material pleasures. The overall result is a mostly fun ride that sprinkles humour and cynicism in among piles of luxurious designer handbags and fashionably uncomfortable looking shoes. The film feels like a hedonistic plunge into the lurid waters of envious desperation and misguided teen angst.
In a cast of freshly discovered newcomers, Emma Watson is the only recognizable member of the actual Bling Ring burglary gang. She actually holds her own surprisingly well among the carefully selected cast, successfully transforming from prissy Hermione into a pouting wannabe Hollywood princess. Those unconvinced by the pretty Harry Potter starlet’s acting credentials will at least have to acknowledge her mastery of a nasal American drawl that is both perpetually disinterested and instantly contemptible.
It’s actually newcomers Katie Chang and Israel Broussard that take center stage as the ringleaders of the pubescent burglary gang. They give convincingly unlikable but at least understandable performances as the casual criminal masterminds. Leslie Mann also provides some nice comic moments as an amusingly atrocious mother, home schooling her brattish children with cringe worthy self-help mantras and homemade shrines to Angelina Jolie.
At best the film is a well-timed warning about the inherent dangers of unrestrained greed for beautiful things and beautiful people.
Anyone watching The Bling Ring simply for a sneaky glimpse inside the lavish supposed homes of Hollywood stars or because of the promise of actual celebrity cameos will likely be left unsatisfied. Real life victim Paris Hilton and Kirsten Dunst might have made the cast list, but they grace the screen for a matter of split seconds. Such audiences might also feel increasingly awkward as the film plays out the grim consequences of taking vapid celebrity obsessions to extremes.
It’s a little ironic that the main allure of a film making a thinly veiled attack on a pervasive culture of greed, excesses and celebrity is actually a graphic depiction of crimes sensationalized purely by their famous victims. The harshest critics might even argue that deliberately ‘glamourizing’ these real life events on screen is part of the precise problems the film laments in its later stages.
There’s a clear risk that audiences may also find the selfish self-entitlement of this juvenile gang of thieves simply too obnoxious to be understood or tolerated for prolonged periods. Even if you give the film credit for being a knowing satire, the inability to slap it’s protagonists in the face may still frustrate you.
The Ugly Truth:
The Bling Ring grabs and effectively holds audience’s attention with a well compiled mash of lurid sights and sounds, but for all its simulated glamour it remains at heart a simple cautionary tale. However, it is a little unclear if the moral of this enjoyably trashy tale is to avoid obsessive star struck greed or simply to avoid committing grand theft. Overall the film is a willfully guilty pleasure. Fueled by Gucci envy, gangster flavoured pop music and a seriously misplaced American dream.
Agent Hobbs decides to fight fire with fire by enlisting the help of outlaw Dominic Toretto and his team of legendary street racers to bring down a former Special Ops soldier Owen Shaw who is leading a unit specializing in vehicular warfare on a crime spree across the globe.
Over six films the Fast and Furious franchise has entirely recovered its original cast and gradually evolved into a unique blockbuster brand of high speed heists and action adventure. The series has driven itself thousands of miles away from the speed racing themed Point Beak remake it started as. It now arrives in London for a sixth outing with a well-established blueprint for emphatic box office success.
The winning Fast and Furious formula remains fairly simple but consistently effective. It’s an expensive array of supercharged supercars driven beyond the limits of physics by attractive people, with the help of a good soundtrack and reasonable CGI. Groomed over the past five films the distinctive style of the high octane vehicular action is now as polished and overblown as it ever will be. The stunts may be ludicrously larger than life, but it’s at least in keeping with the tongue in check comedic tone of the latest film.
Thankfully Fast and Furious 6 is knowingly silly rather than just accidentally hilarious. It plays unashamedly for laughs and milks its best comedic assets like the Rock and Ludacris for all they’re worth. That comedy combined with the series trademark eye candy and even more frequent fight scenes keeps the film a watchable fun ride.
The film makes the most out of the hulking muscular presence of Vin Diesel and The Rock, as well as the considerable cat-fighting skills of Michelle Rodriguez and former MMA star Gina Carano. Almost the entire cast finds themselves given an excuse for a bruising punch up this time, helping to plug any long gaps between car chases with physical action instead of prolonged dialogue.
Franchise fans will be pleased to see all the familiar faces back and perhaps especially happy to see Michelle Rodriguez return from the dead to re-join the cast. Newcomer Luke Evans also does a good job of posing a credibly imposing threat as the new villain of the piece. Of course Paul Walker and Vin Diesel retain all their usual charms.
At high speed in the middle of a well-orchestrated mess of vehicular mayhem and destruction the acting skills of the series large ensemble cast are adequate and largely irrelevant. Everyone’s at least capable of exclaiming ‘Oh Yeah!’ or ‘That’s how we do it!” whilst enthusiastically shifting gears for the next explosive CGI car stunt. Unfortunately, whenever the film attempts to drop the pace for some emotional drama the cast struggle to keep up. Vin Diesel is simply more plausible and fun growling angrily at his car than mumbling sweet nothings at Michelle Rodriguez.
In the last Fast and Furious film agent Hobbs was insistent that you should never let these people get into cars (because it’s too dangerous), the truth is audiences might actually prefer it if you never let them out of the cars. Unless perhaps, it’s for a fight.
Speaking of Michelle Rodriguez, having died in one of the previous sequel, her return to life is handled with the kind of sophistication you’d expect from a daytime TV soap, complete with embarrassingly convenient amnesia. There are rare moments when even the biggest explosion can’t distract from how implausible such proceedings are.
While the film will undoubtedly benefit from the aggressive publicity campaign that promoted its release, it’s also worth warning that the endless parade of trailers and clips shared far too much of the film’s action scenes in their enthusiasm to lure audiences into the cinema. Even the film’s climax might leave you feeling a sense of slightly disappointed Déjà vu.
The Ugly Truth:
Fast and Furious 6 delivers a package of uncomplicated high speed action that will satisfy both existing fans of the franchise and most casual blockbuster crowds. A steady stream of laughs, car stunts and action helps props up a simple plot and speed the franchise towards an inevitable seventh film.
Red Carpet Video Interviews with Vin Diesel the cast and director Justin Lin below from the world premiere in London: