In Retrospect - Issue 12

Page 1

Contents: 3-9:

Reviews of this month’s film....


6-7 10-11:

On DVD this month...


A list of DVD releases for this July


In cinema next month...


A list of films set to be released in August



Editor’s Note:

Journalist and Editor: Charlie Derry:

Looks like we’ve got a bit of a superhero themed issue this month.

Designer and Art Director: Mikie Daniel:


Reviews of this month’s film...


c i g a M e k i M Release Date: 11th July 2012


Steven Soderbergh

Famous Faces:

Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer and Matthew McConaughey


If you’re in the small minority of the female population that hasn’t been reading E. L. James‘ 50 Shades of Grey this month, then you’ve probably been watching this. Magic Mike, directed by Steven Soderbergh, follows male stripper Magic Mike (Channing Tatum) who teaches a younger performer, teenage drop-out Adam (Alex Pettyfer), how to party, pick up women, and make easy money. From the director that brought us the Oceans trilogy and thrillers including the fairly recent Contagion and Haywire, Magic Mike is certainly an odd direction for Soderbergh to take. Fortunately, his experience means that there is still something to watch and enjoy when there are no halfnaked men stripping. Based partly on the experiences of Tatum who began stripping when he was 19 years old, this gives the film both a decent story line to fit around the staged scenes and also means that Tatum knows what how to dance (And oh boy, he really does!). Both are big qualities of the film – even if only one of them will please the male side of the audience – and it is these points combined that makes Magic Mike stand aside from being just a film about half-naked men, giving it something more than just a kinky premise. It may not be the most gripping of story lines but it isn’t just one terribly put together to be used a backdrop and meant to be ignored. Whilst we had The Full Monty

over ten years ago, it was about time that image was sexed up a bit and Magic Mike does that well enough. The characters may not be deep or engaging – excluding a few scenes of Tatum outside of his stripping business – but Tatum and Pettyfer make an enjoyable on-screen duo. Tatum has been stepping away from his romantic dramas recently and has really been making them work. This may not be the most serious of films but he certainly left an

“Based par tly on the experiences of Tatum who began stripping when he was 19 years old, this gives the film both a decent stor y line to fit around the staged scenes and also means that Tatum knows how to dance.” impression in quite a few scenes. Pettyfer, too, had a surprisingly good presence, and maybe after his role here we might get to see him in some better films over the next year. Also starring Matthew McConaughey, Joe Manganiello, and Matthew Bomer as some of the other male strippers, each play their roles well. Bomer has just been announced to be playing Christian Grey in the upcoming 50 Shades of Grey adaptation

so this was a nice teaser for that, but most of these actors were only really a bit of eyecandy in the background. McConaughey, however, was a huge asset to the film. I was quite surprised that he was even cast in a film like this, even if like Tatum he has been known for some very cheesy rom-coms, but by the end of it I wished there was more of him involved. Another one of the film’s leads is Adam’s sister Brooke who was played by Cody Horn. Her character would be my only criticism of the film as her moody presence often put a downer on the scenes she was included in. Maybe I would have cared more if she was likeable, it may have even added an extra layer to the film to have a decent female lead and a possible romantic connection that we could cheer for, but in the end it was all about the male actors anyway, and that’s all that was important. It’s fair to say that the cinema was mainly full of women on a girls night out and that’s what Magic Mike is good for, but I’ve not heard any bad reviews from the male side of the audience who braved it on their own either. It could have expanded its audience range a little more by correcting its few minor faults, but it was never going to be an award-winning film anyway. It was just a bit of fun, and for that reason it is a decent watch.


The Amazing Spider-Man After the huge success of The Avengers earlier this year, this month sees the release of Marvel‘s latest film, The Amazing Spider-Man. Directed by Marc Webb, the film is a reboot of Sam Raimi‘s original Spider-Man trilogy that starred Tobey Maguire in the lead role. Now with Andrew Garfield taking the role as Peter Parker, a.k.a the web-slinging superhero that is Spider-Man, we see a different, more personal side to his story. As Peter finds a clue that might help him understand why his parents disappeared when he was young, his path puts him on a collision course with his father’s former partner Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans), whose current experiments with animal stem cells will change the lives of them both. Not expecting much before going to see this film I was extremely impressed. Only having the original films to base my pre-judgements on, The Amazing Spider-Man works at a much better level because it has an emotional depth to it. With a large focus on Peter’s family, living with his Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen) and Aunt May (Sally Field), and his relationship with Gwen (Emma Stone), the film pays a lot more attention to Peter. From the beginning his character is set up incredibly well, and from then on the film


explores his character finding himself, relating to the audience on a more personal level. Because of both Garfield’s acting and Webb’s direction, this time around we actually care about who Peter is and what he becomes. His character here is one that the audience can engage with and it’s because of Webb’s direction that we even want to. Scenes of Peter at school and skate boarding in the streets add an extra layer to his character, a personal one away from his superhero alter ego that really works to allow the audience to view him as a genuine person, rather than just a nobody who puts on a mask. But the film pulls us in many other ways too, in a large part by tying in with some of what we know from the original films, including a background story around the Osborn family – Norman Osborn a.k.a The Green Goblin (Willem Dafoe) and his son Harry (James Franco). Having not read the comics myself, it would seem that the film ties in well with its original source too, introducing us to a new set of characters including Peter’s bully Flash Thompson (Chris Zylka) and his first love, Gwen Stacy (Stone). Whilst the film is a reboot, it has enough changes to make it stand out as a unique film but it also has some similarities that the

audience can find comfort in. The biggest change is Peter’s romantic connection with Gwen, as the original films focused on Peter’s relationship with his red-haired neighbour Mary-Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst). In the comic books MJ was Peter’s second love-interest, and Gwen did make a short cameo in Spiderman 3 but she was not played by Stone at this point. These are further examples of how the film ties everything together for both comic book readers and fans of the original films alike, but this change in the female lead also brings something fresh to the reboot. These constant connections and attention to detail are one of the films best qualities. It’s obvious throughout that Webb knew what he wanted to do and why he was doing it, and because of this we, as an audience, find ourselves going from laughter to sadness, to genuinely caring about what will happen next. The film even has a successful romantic undercurrent, something I’ve found fault in with most of this year’s other releases, but that’s to be expected from Webb. His previous film and directorial debut 500 Days of Summer is one of my personal favourites – a great romcom that avoids only appealing to a female audience – and Webb certainly met my expectations again with this latest effort, fitting in quite a sexy romantic

connection between the film’s leads for a film that is typically watched by males. The film’s score really works in these scene too. Whenever Garfield and Stone get close there’s a beautiful melody that plays in the background, even if it does sound like the Titanic soundtrack at times, but then when the scenes become more action-packed the score turns into something quite epic. It’s a great complement to the film and is one that composer James Horner should almost definitely be awarded for. But The Amazing SpiderMan doesn’t only have a great director and composer, it also has a host of great acting. As already emphasised throughout this review, Andrew Garfield is brilliant for the role, revamping a superhero that isn’t always as well-favoured as the many others. Not only is Garfield incredibly handsome – something at first I thought would actually set him apart the Spider-Man role – but his acting has always had great passion behind it. It was his role in Never Let Me Go where I first noticed this and it is has here brought a great credibility to the film. As again already mentioned, this addition of emotion lets us engage with the character of Peter Parker which I have never been able to do before; another of the film’s biggest attributions. Garfield’s on-screen chemistry with Emma Stone, too, is extremely enjoyable. I’ve always believed that Stone was a great actress but she seemed to really find her feet in this action-based film, making a great comparison to

the American comedies that we are used to seeing her in. Rhys Ifans, too, was really fitting in more of a serious role for him too. Since The Boat That Rocked he’s really starting to make a name for himself, I think, whilst he also made a great addition to the final Harry Potter instalment last year. The only negatives of The Amazing Spider-Man are that the 3D is more-orless pointless, only having a handful of moments where I would say it was worthwhile, and the Lizard does look pretty substandard. But don’t let that put you off – it may not be amazing but it is pretty damn good.

Release Date: 3rd July 2012

Director: Marc Webb

Famous Faces:

Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone and Rhys Ifans


The Dark Knight Rises The final instalment to Christopher Nolan‘s Batman trilogy, The Dark Knight Rises picks up eight years after the attacks of The Joker and TwoFace from 2008′s The Dark Knight when a new terrorist leader, Bane (Tom Hardy), overwhelms Gotham’s finest, including Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman) and Detective Blake (Joseph Gordon-Levitt). When jewel thief Selina aka Catwoman (Anne Hathaway) threatens that a storm is coming, Bruce Wayne a.k.a the

Release Date: 20th July 2012


Christopher Nolan

Famous Faces:

Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, Michael Caine and Gary Oldman


caped crusader that is Batman (Christian Bale) must resurface from his years of solitude to protect a city that has branded him an enemy. With Bane intending to destroy everything that Bruce has his name to, he must enlist the help of his butler Alfred (Michael Caine) and his business manager Fox (Morgan Freeman), and put his trust in a new colleague Miranda (Marion Cotillard) to rise again. Claimed by most to be one of, if not the, best film of the year, The Dark Knight Rises has been one of the most anticipated superhero films this summer, and it certainly lives up to its hype. Personally I don’t think that it’s the best of this summer’s blockbusters nor out of Nolan’s trilogy itself, but it’s still a bloody fantastic film; it just falls short to a few minor flaws and a run-time that seems like it’s never going to end, but all can be forgiven. Unlike its rival Avengers Assemble there are no witty jokes or comical characters to base its entertainment appeal. Instead, The Dark Knight Rises is

a serious and deeply motivated film that has intense characters, a political and in some places religious backdrop, a mix of thriller and police drama genres, and a sense of reality that many superhero films don’t manage to capture. However, what it does lack is an emotional core, at least until the very end when all of Bruce’s moral lessons are learnt. This is largely because the first half of the film is all about Bruce in his crippled state and consequently going through a couple of lengthy recoveries. Whilst these scenes show a great strength in Bale’s acting, unfortunately this makes his character hard to engage with. Marc Webb’s superhero film from earlier this the month, The Amazing SpiderMan managed to capture this emotional depth with its main character brilliantly, which makes it harder to care about Bruce’s fight with the real world when the once wimpy Peter Parker has managed to do it better. I understand that a large part of the film is Bruce battling with the public’s unwillingness to

accept him back into society, but it wasn’t played out well enough to emphasise with that rejection. Instead, it was only too easy to side with Bruce’s ever-faithful butler Alfred and want to walk out half way through because of how tiresome his self-loathingness becomes. It is Alfred that manages to bring a sense of emotional engagement back in to the second half of the film, aside from the main premise of Batman rising and winning us over once again, as you can really feel empathy for his character because of his love for this fictional family and his attempts to hold them together. The main problem with the film, however, is its length. At nearly three hours long, The Dark Knight Rises can only be deemed epic for about half of this time. The first hour and a half or so has its qualities – the introduction to Bane especially is pretty impressive – but a lot of the scenes becomes easily forgotten and far too dragged out. The length is unforgivable when much could have been cut down, but that is again only until the second half of the film when it really picks up in both plot and character engagement. It is easy to forget the film’s flaws though as there are many surprises that will soon get you edging towards the edge of your seat again. The film has a great script, brilliant characters and, whilst its fighting scenes are sometimes a little too long, The Dark Knight Rises has everything you would want from a superhero film. Hans Zimmer‘s score is outstanding and the visual effects are excellent too. Together they make a piece of cinema gold and for that there

are no other criticisms. One of the greatest things about Nolan’s Batman trilogy is that all three films include an excellent cast list. Christian Bale in the lead role is one of few Batman portrayals that I really enjoy. In this film, especially, he managed to make me both love and hate him, and by the end of the film he managed to really captivate the audience’s affection. As the new villain Bane, Tom Hardy is an excellent addition to the cast and after the problems that arose when making the film, he did sound amazing. He may not come close to Heath Ledger‘s Joker but that wouldn’t be a fair comparison. As one of three villains in the trilogy, however, he is just as terrifying as the rest. It is a huge shame Ledger couldn’t be part of the final instalment, it would have been great to see him star alongside Joseph GordonLevitt once again. Levitt,

however, stole the spotlight in his own way. Working alongside Gary Oldman on the police force, there’s a reason that we have a respect for this law enforcement team in this film. Marion Cotillard is also definitely worth a mention too, and Anne Hathaway played her part excellently, even if I did have my doubts at first. Both were brilliantly cast and it was great to have a pair of strong-minded female leads in the trilogy. Flaws or no flaws, there’s no denying that The Dark Knight Rises is an epic conclusion to Nolan’s Batman trilogy. Even if it may not be quite as satisfying as The Dark Knight or Batman Begins on a whole, it certainly has its moments and is probably the best end to a trilogy there has ever been, which says enough in itself.


On DVD this month...


July DVD Releases: Bel Ami Date: 23rd July Based on the novel by Guy de Maupassant, the film chronicles the life of George Duroy (Robert Pattinson), a penniless ex-soldier who rises to power through his manipulation of the city’s most influential women.

This Means War Date: 2nd July

21 Jump Street Date: 9th July

CIA agents and best friends FDR (Chris Pine) and Tuck (Tom Hardy) find themselves part of a love triangle when they end up dating the same woman (Reese Witherspoon).

Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum) are old high school classmates who become friends during police academy. After becoming partners, the two are made to go undercover at a local high school.

We Bought A Zoo Date: 16th July Based on a memoir by Benjamin Mee about how the he and his family – played by Matt Damon, Scarlett Johansson and Elle Fanning – used their life savings to buy Dartmoor Zoological Park in the English countryside.

Mirror Mirror Date: 30th July Based on the classic Brothers Grimm tale Snow White and The Seven Dwarves, the film follows The Evil Queen (Julia Roberts) who, having stolen control of a kingdom, exiles the princess Snow White (Lily Collins).

John Carter Date: 2nd July Whilst searching for a fabled cave of gold, Civil War vet John Carter (Taylor Kitsch) is inadvertently teleported to Mars, known to its inhabitants as Barsoom.


In cinemas next month...


August’s Cinema: Take This Waltz Date: 17th August Margot (Michelle Williams) is a happily married woman, but she ends up falling for the artist who lives across the street (Luke Kirby).

Brave Date: 13th August

Ted Date: 1st August

Determined to make her own path in life, Princess Merida defies a custom that brings chaos to her kingdom. Granted one wish, Merida must rely on her bravery and her archery skills to undo a beastly curse.

As the result of a childhood wish, John’s (Mark Wahlberg) teddy bear, Ted, came to life and has been by John’s side ever since - a friendship that’s tested when John’s girlfriend (Mila Kunis) wants more from their relationship.

The Bourne Legacy Date: 13th August An expansion of the universe from Robert Ludlum’s novels, centred on a new hero (Jeremy Renner) whose stakes have been triggered by the events of the previous three Bourne films.

The Watch Date: 24th August

Total Recall Date: 29th August

Four suburban dads form a neighbourhood watch group as a way to get out of their day-to-day family routines, but they soon find themselves defending the Earth from an alien invasion.

Remake of the 1990 film, Colin Farrell plays a factory worker who begins to suspect that he’s a spy, though he is unaware which side he’s supposed to be fighting on.