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Skyline Trailer

Posted by: Matthew Turner 12/11/2010 @ 11:47
Subject: Film

Films seen so far this year: 425
Films seen this week: brilliantlove, Into Eternity, Megamind, You Again, Dream Home, Aftershock, Fezeka's Voice, Of Gods and Men, Love and Other Drugs

Superhero Casting Rumour
Regular readers of this blog (both of you) will know that I loathe and despise casting rumours with a fiery passion. Usually it's just an excuse to write a load of made-up nonsense (indicated by a telltale question mark at the end as a get-out clause) which will then get written up a second time when the story is inevitably denied. The best recent example of this was the flurry of “Is David Tennant playing The Hulk?” stories, the answer to which was a resounding “No he bloody well isn't”. However, this week I am making a one-time only exception to my self-imposed ban on casting rumour stories, a) because the rumour has some credence, given the details and b) because it involves one of my favourite actresses and my favourite superhero franchise.

After that build-up, the actual story is probably going to seem a little disappointing, but according to various sources (and note that question mark), Zooey Deschanel is in talks to play Betty Brant (J. Jonah Jameson's secretary, who was Peter Parker's first girlfriend in the early comics) in the Spider-Man reboot (which, just to get some actual official news in here too, also announced recently that Martin Sheen and Sally Field would be playing Uncle Ben and Aunt May). The reason the story has more credence than usual is that director Marc Webb worked with Zooey on (500) Days of Summer – he has apparently said the part is hers if she wants it. However, given that Emma Stone (playing Gwen Stacey) is apparently the main female lead, it seems like the role would be little more than a cameo, though it's worth noting that Elizabeth Banks played Betty Brant in all three of Sam Raimi's Spider-Man movies (although, to be fair, Banks was a lot less famous in 2002, when she was first cast). Still, there are no official plot details yet and Webb has apparently said he has big plans for the character, so anything is possible. Watch this space.

Trailerwatch: Skyline
I was unaware of Skyline until I saw a trailer and some extended footage at Moviecon back in August. At the time, I was tentatively excited, but the fact that there have only been limited press screenings both here and in the US is usually a pretty bad sign. The concept is obviously tried and tested: brain-sucking aliens invade the world; a small group of civilians fight back.

The cast doesn't inspire much confidence though – instead of Will Smith, we've got ... er ... Eric Balfour, best known for getting killed off in a handful of high profile TV shows over the last decade (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Six Feet Under, 24). The cast also includes -wait for it- David Zayas (from TV's Dexter) and  Donald Faison (from TV's Scrubs) and they are literally the best-known people in the cast. I don't know about you, but I'm not optimistic about mankind's chances of survival. That said, the special effects look impressive in places (and laughably bad elsewhere – check out that terrible helicopter/tentacle shot) and the film-makers have obviously thrown every alien-based science-fiction film they could think of into the mix (e.g. Alien, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Independence Day), so maybe something will stick.

I like the film's obvious money shot of all the people being sucked up into the spaceships and I like the suggestion of black humour with the car getting stomped and Balfour shouting “NOOOOOOO!” when the helicopter gets tentacled, so it could be fun. I'm finding out in a couple of hours and the review should be up later this afternoon. Skyline fans should note that there's also a teaser trailer, which seems unaccountably fixated on Stephen Hawking.

Top 10 Films On Release This Week (as recommended by me):
Despite the fact that there are no tentpole mainstream releases this week, there are still three new entries into the top ten. They
include: Mexican cannibal arthouse horror We Are What We Are, Chinese post-earthquake melodrama Aftershock and smalltown Gerard Depardieu (or as the American trailer voiceover man once called him Gerard Deepardoo) drama My Afternoons With Margueritte. I've dropped Buried from the list, but it's still out there if you look hard enough, though it's deep into its second run so won't be around for much longer. There's nothing new this week, interview-wise, but you can still read our exclusive one-on-one with Burke & Hare star Simon Pegg and our interviews with Made in Dagenham stars Jaime Winstone and Rosamund Pike.

1. Mary & Max
2. The Social Network
3. Involuntary
4. The Kids Are All Right
5. Made In Dagenham
6. Mammoth
7. Another Year
8. We Are What We Are
9. Aftershock
10. My Afternoons With Margueritte

DVD Of The Week: How to Train Your Dragon (Double Play DVD / Blu-Ray released 15th November, RRP £27.99)
Breaking my own self-imposed rules seems to be a bit of a theme this week. Ordinarily, it's my policy never to review a DVD without a review copy, but since this was one of my favourite films of the year (and also because I don't have anything else for this week), I'm making another one-time only exception.

Anyway, this week's DVD of the Week is the wonderful How To Train Your Dragon, based on the children's books by Cressida Cowell. The film is set on the island of Berk, where the Viking inhabitants have all become dragon-slayers in order to fend off frequent dragon attacks. However, nerdy teenage Viking Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) is something of a disaster in the dragon-slaying department, so his Viking Chief father Stoick (Gerard Butler) forces him to attend dragon-fighting classes. However, when one of Hiccup's inventions brings down a feared Night Fury dragon, Hiccup befriends it and gradually discovers that there's more to dragons than he had assumed. Beautifully animated and superbly written, this is a hugely entertaining and emotionally engaging adventure with thrilling action sequences and a terrific voice cast.

It's also very funny in places and builds to a terrific climax, with 3D dragon-flying sequences that, frankly, put Avatar to shame. In short, it's enormous fun for both adults and children alike. I haven't seen the extras but the expensive Double Play DVD / Blu-Ray version apparently contains a filmmakers’ commentary and featurettes on both the cast and the technical artistry behind the dragons. The Blu-Ray has tonnes more extras, obviously, but that's a rant best saved for another time. Highly recommended, anyway.


by  nosda  12/02/2011 @ 14:07
It's such a shame that Dragons was pushed aside a little when Toy Story 3 came along. It's a fantastic film that for once makes Dreamworks a seriously strong competitor for Pixar. It was the best animation of the year IMHO.
by  Matthew Turner  13/02/2011 @ 16:15
I agree. It made my Top Ten of 2010 over Top Story 3. I am secretly hoping it nabs the Best Animated Film Oscar, as I can't quite see them giving the award to a film with a 3 in the title, regardless of how good it is.
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