Friday, 20 December 2013

The Boy Who Lived, and a bit more.

People who know me know how much I champion any kind of spin-off that helps to keep the Harry Potter dream alive, and here is the latest: a play based on the early years of Harry Potter, co-produced (but not written) by J.K. Rowling herself.

When I first heard the news about a Harry Potter prequel play, I sincerely hoped that it would be based on The Marauders, but alas, not to be.  However, I am curious as to how the previously untold story of Harry's childhood will play out, due to us muggles only being aware of it consisting of one place - a broom cupboard.

Ant Man's identity revealed

Following months of speculation, Marvel have confirmed that the wonderful Paul Rudd will be bringing Ant-Man to life in 2015.

As both Marvel's and director Edgar Wright's choice, it will be interesting to see Rudd turn his hand to superhero, having proved he is adept at both comedy and occasional drama.  Marvel have certainly made good choices in the past and I am personally thrilled about the prospect of Rudd joining the Marvel universe.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

The Boys are Back: Weinstein brothers

Following on from the success of The Butler, Philomena and the highly-anticipated August: Osage County, The Weinstein Company are gearing up to rejuvenate some of their most successful projects.

Teaming up with Miramax, the brothers now have access to old, successful titles, with both a Shakespeare in Love 2 and a Rounders 2 in the pipeline.  Furthermore, a Good Will Hunting television series is also in the works.

All may seem like bold choices, particularly the television series, but these franchises already have a built-in audience, making it easier for financing and promoting.

Image source:

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Joseph Gordon-Levitt to produce The Sandman?

Joseph Gordon-Levitt has confirmed his involvement with the upcoming adaptation of Neil Gaiman's The Sandman.

Gordon-Levitt will produce and potentially star in the films although further information regarding the film is very limited. However, fans are speculating that the film will focus on the first 8 (out of 75) issues of the comic.

The Sandman revolves around The Lord of Dreams (Morpheus or Dream) who has recently been released after being held captive for 75 years, and tries to rebuild his kingdom.  It is a very popular series which has built up a very dedicated cult following since 1989 and whilst there have been numerous attempts to bring to the big screen, none have been successful.  However, this one is a collaboration between Warner Bros. and screenwriter David S. Goyer, who has been behind Man of Steel and the Batman trilogy. That, with the added clout of JGL, makes for a formidable combination.

Monday, 16 December 2013

Trailer: 22 Jump Street

Filming only wrapped less than 24 hours ago, but the first red-band trailer for 22 Jump Street (the sequel to 2010's 21 Jump Street - which was a reboot in itself) has already spread across the internet and it is just as fun as the first.

I'm a big fan of Channing Tatum in non-chick flick roles and teamed with Jonah Hill means it looks like it's going to be laughs-a-plenty.

Friday, 13 December 2013

Future Film Friday: Jupiter Ascending

Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis) was born under a night sky, with signs predicting that she was destined for great things. Now grown, Jupiter dreams of the stars but wakes up to the cold reality of a job cleaning toilets and an endless run of bad breaks. Only when Caine (Channing Tatum), a genetically engineered ex-military hunter, arrives on Earth to track her down does Jupiter begin to glimpse the fate that has been waiting for her all along – her genetic signature marks her as next in line for an extraordinary inheritance that could alter the balance of the cosmos. 

This seems like something out of the ordinary for both Kunis and Tatum which is the main reason I am excited to see this upcoming sci-fi blockbuster.

In astrology, when Jupiter conjunct ascendent, it brings extravagance and wealth, and certainly no expense has been spared on production for Jupiter Ascending.  There seems to be a lot going on, from the space-y special effects, to Channing Tatum's interesting new look and it'll be interesting to see how well the plot stands up against the impressive backdrop.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Future Film Friday: The Inbetweeners 2

Following the success of 2011's The Inbetweeners Movie, the show's creators, Damon Beesly and Iain Morris, confirmed this week that an sequel is on its way, set in Australia.

They've not given much away about what this newest offering will entail, but have promised kangaroos and koalas and I'm willing to wager that it may be centering around a gap year.

I have high hopes for this, sequels to a movie that was already based on a TV series can be dangerous ground but a lot of the comedy's success rests not only on the brilliant script but from the foursome's ability to bring the character's to life so hilariously, and I'm looking forward to plenty of down-under jokes.

Friday, 22 November 2013

Future Film Friday: Tolkien

Following the success of last year's Hitchcock, Fox Searchlight have announced that they are working on a JRR Tolkien biopic which will capture his time during both university and as a soldier during WW1, as well as his well-publicized friendship with CS Lewis.

Whilst it may be surprising that no such film has already been produced, it is worth noting that the Tolkien estate are notoriously protective over usage of Tolkien's outputs, so I'll wait with bated breath to see if this comes to fruition.

I have my own personal family reasons to hope that this film gets the greenlight; my great-grandad was in his year at school and my great-aunt was matron of the hospital where he was treated for trench-foot so I'm looking forward to pointing out "nurse #4" and pretending she is an ancestor.  All jokes aside, Tolkien is probably the most innovative and imaginative authors of all time, so it will be fascinating to see the man behind Middle-earth.

Talking of Middle-earth, Google has made sure none of us forget the imminent release of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.

Some of The Hobbit's well-known locations are  now open for virtual tours, thanks to the new interactive map from Google.
Incorporating, audio passages, character biographies and Elvish muzak, users can explore Trollshaws, Dol Guldur and beautiful Rivendell.

Monday, 18 November 2013

Lloydy's round-up: Batkid, Pudsey and an odd sequel

I have to begin this post with the most heartwarming story I've ever heard.

For one day only, San Francisco transformed into Gotham City, especially for Miles Scott (Batkid), a five year old leukemia sufferer, and the city's residents were all in on the secret (courtesy of Make-A-Wish Foundation).

The day began with an ABC news report calling for Batkid's help and his day progressed with saving a damsel-in-distress and apprehending the Riddler.  To reward him for all of his help, Batkid was rewarded with the key to the city.  

This is an absolutely wonderful story, and something that I'm sure was brilliant fun to be part of. Bravo San Francisco.

Very Important Pudsey

The second charity-meets-entertainment story of the week revolves around our favourite charity mascot, Pudsey (bear not dog).  

Stars from stage, screen and music came together to design a very unique range of Pudsey's to raise money for this year's Children in Need.  Those participating included Sir Paul McCartney, Sir Terry Wogan, Dame Helen Mirren and Joanna Lumley's (see below).

And now something bizarre...

A sequel to It's a Wonderful Life is in the works. Yup.

It's a Wonderful Life: The Rest of the Story (hmm...) will follow Bailey's unpleasant grandson, with angel Zuzu showing him how much better the world would have been without him.

I don't even know what to say.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Lloydy's round-up: Thor, Classics and Odd Promotions

Last night I saw Thor: The Dark World.  Despite the mixed reviews that it has received, I really enjoyed it, especially the many humourous interludes, courtesy of Loki, Darcy and  Erik. The science chat mostly went over my head but I got the gist of what was going on.  It did feel a little Lord of The Rings-esque at times but on the whole, a well-told story.

Other things happening in the movie world this week...

Star Wars casting

The first auditions for Disney Star Wars: Episode VII were held in Bristol this weekend, but I'll leave it up to these two to tell you more...

Blasts from the past

Ghostbusters 3 could well be on the cards, with reports suggesting that both Jonah Hill and Emma Stone have been offered roles. We shall have to wait and see if any more news surfaces...

Similarly, Jurassic World (due for a 2015 release) has a rumoured casting list of Jason Schwartzman, Bryce Dallas Howard (The Twilight Saga, The Help), Nick Robinson (The Kings of Summer) and Ty Simpkins (Insidious).

Jungle Book updates

Back in July, I spoke about Disney's planned live-action remake of The Jungle Book, and it looks like the wheels are well and truly in motion, with Jon Favreau in negotiations to direct.  I'd be really interested to see what the genius behind Elf could do with another family classic.

Odd Hunger Games tie-ins

One news story that I saw circulating all over the internet this week, was the proposed Hunger Games theme park. Now, I understand why this would appeal. Both The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London - The Making of Harry Potter were roaring successes, and as a franchise with a similar fan base, I can appreciate why this would be a concept. However, the main difference is that Hogwarts, and all associated with it, is a world that as you read (or watch) you desperately want to be part of. You certainly do not want to be involved in any of the various civilizations within Panem, or the arenas for that matter.  I can imagine the rides themselves would be suitably exhilarating but I'd love to be a fly on the wall during the development process.

The second Hunger Games related news that has caused quite a frenzy amongst fans is the Subway US promotion alongside Catching Fire. Admittedly, it is an odd choice, a film revolving around starving citizens, sponsored by sandwiches. I think Subway have really missed a trick here.  The Catching Fire sandwiches on offer are the 'Sriracha Chicken Melt', the 'Sriracha Steak Melt', Buffalo Chicken and the Turkey Jalapeno Melt.  However, hardcore fans will know that a particular meal is referenced quite prominently throughout the novels (although admittedly they don't linger on it in the movies), which consists of lamb stew and plums.  To me, this sounds like a potentially delicious sandwich! Come on Subway!

Friday, 8 November 2013

Future Film Friday: Get your tissues ready...

If I Stay
Director: R.J. Cutler
Writers: Shauna Cross & Gayle Forman (author)

If I Stay is the story of 17 year old Mia, a gifted cellist, who has to choose between life and death after a horrific car accident that kills the rest of her family.

Production for this began last week, with some spot-on casting, including Chloe Grace Moretz as the lead role. Moretz has even been learning the cello in preparation.


I discovered the book by Gayle Forman only this week and I devoured it in one day. It's tremendously sad, but balanced perfectly with characters that are so awesome that you'd wish you were part of their world. I haven't felt that emotionally involved in a story in years, so I'm interested to see if the film will have the same effect or if it is Forman's writing that I was solely gripped by.

The Fault in Our Stars
Director: Josh  Boone
Writers: Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber & John Green (author).

Along a similar vein (but also completely different) is The Fault in Our Stars, a love story between Hazel and Gus, two teenagers who meet and fall in love at a cancer support group.  As with IIS, the characters are incredibly likeable and share an acerbic wit that will make you laugh out loud, a couple of paragraphs after crying hysterically.  The screenwriting team behind 500 Days of Summer adapted the screenplay which I am thrilled about and the film is slated for release 6 June 2014. Author John Green has been very active during the whole filming process, providing regular updates for his fans via social media as to the progression of the movie.


Thursday, 7 November 2013

Review: Captain Phillips

Director: Paul Greengrass
Writers: Billy Ray & Richard Phillips, Stephan Talty
Main Cast: Tom Hanks, Barkhad Abdi, Barkhad Abdirahman 
Certificate: 12a (UK)
(Source: IMDB)

Richard Phillips (Hanks) makes the trip to Oman to captain a cargo ship to Kenya.  However, whilst voyaging through hazardous Somali waters, the MV Maersk Alabama becomes the first American ship to be hijacked in two hundred years. Phillips risks his own life and is taken as hostage by the pirates.

What I respect the most about this film is its refusal to demonize the Somalians, yes they are the bad guys, but we understand the reasons behind what they do.   We sympathize with Bilal, the youngest, he doesn't want to be there, but has ended up there out of desperation, and you find yourself simultaneously hoping both he and Phillips survive.  Then there's Muse, played by Barkhad Abdi, a native-Somalian with no previous experience in acting.  He captures both the desperation and intelligence of the person who is perhaps just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

As this is based on a true story, it is surprising how tense this film is, despite knowing how it'll end.  Greengrass previously directed United 93, and so had already proven how adept he is at taking a well-known situation, but still keeping the audience gripped to the very end.  Hanks is also responsible for this, there is something very comforting about knowing you will be spending the next 90+ minutes in his company, and is such a decent man that we are immediately concerned for him. Indeed, the last scene, whilst having probably the least amount of action of the whole film, is definitely the most raw and powerful, and is Hank's acting at its peak - you could have heard a pin drop.

Cannot recommend this film enough.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Review: Prisoners

Director: Denis Villeneuve
Writer: Aaron Guzikowski
Main Cast: Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Terence Howard, Paul Dano
Certificate: 15 (UK)
(source: IMDB)

Prisoners is a tense thriller that sees the families of Keller Dover (Jackman) and Franklin Birch (Howard) have their lives turned upside down when their daughters are kidnapped during a Thanksgiving party.  All fingers point towards Alex Jones (Dano), whose RV was parked outside during the time of the abduction, and it is up to Detective Loki (Gyllenhaal) to get a confession out of him.

Except, he can't... and Dover takes matters into his own hands, resulting in some horrifying consequences.

The plot twists and turns throughout the movie, with the camera always lurking ominously around the corner, with the anticipation that danger is always round the corner, and someone is always watching.

The questions that the film makes the audience asks itself veers on a slightly political edge - what lengths would you go to, if you thought you could rescue a loved one?  As a result, some of the scenes make for very uncomfortable viewing - not because of any particular gratuitous violence, but because of what is implied and the discomfort of the situation makes us question our own morality and the choices we would make.  We are also constantly aware of the "race against time", to find the girls and to save the girls, and this nervous apprehension only adds to the menacing tone of the film.  

Both Jackman and Gyllenhaal give brilliant, believable and distressing performances, but attention must also be given to both Dano, whose silence portrays a thousand words, and also Howard, whose anguish is completely heartbreaking.

You will be on the edge of your seats with your hands clamped over your mouth until the very end, and beyond and, if anything else, this film will perpetuate the notion to never buy a house with a basement...

Friday, 25 October 2013

Future Film Friday: The Bone Season

I've been itching to write about The Bone Season for ages, and after the news this week that it has been acquired by 20th Century Fox and Chernin Entertainment, now feels like a better time than ever to indulge my excitement.

TBS is set in Scion London, a futuristic citadel, where 19-year-old Paige is working as a dreamwalker, amongst the criminal underworld. After losing control of her power, she is kidnapped and taken to Oxford (now known as Sheol I) and held captive by the mysterious Arcturus Warden, part of the Rephaim (all these words will make sense if you go read the book - I urge you to!), who is an intriguing character all of his own, and she learns how to hone her rare talent and use it to her advantage. My synopsis doesn't do the story half the justice that it deserves but it is a truly fascinating journey into a new world, and I can't remember being this excited by a fantasy novel since the Harry Potter series, which many critics have indeed been drawing comparisons to. Other than the fact that it will be a 7-part series, that's really where the similarities end, and it's an injustice to both to say they are similar.  The Bone Season is a stand-out story all of its own.

Just to give a little further background to this, the author, Samantha Shannon, is ridiculously young at 21 (I know, she makes me feel like a failure too), and the film rights were snapped up almost immediately by Andy Serkis's The Imaginarium.

There is so much that I am looking forward to about this film, but cannot list without giving away too many big plot points, however even just to see how they interpret the mythical land of Sheol I, and the casting choices for the various characters is keeping me going - I am mostly intrigued to see who they pick for Warden, who, despite finding him wildly attractive, I cannot for the life of me conjure up what I imagine him to look like. I have a worried feeling that they'll pick someone like Cumberbatch for it, and (IMO) he wouldn't be right at all, but ultimately the decision lies with Shannon, and it is her vision that I am so excited to see come to life.

NB. I recommend following the author herself for any further info -

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Lloydy's round-up: Awkward Grimm Merchant in Avatar Land

Notable things this week...

Hello Ladies
I went to see Stephen Merchant's first stand-up show a couple of years ago and I can honestly say it was the most fun I've ever had at a comedy gig (and I always enjoy stand-up).  I spent the evening caught up in that kind of laughter when you know you look like a wailing hyena but you're laughing too much to care.  The first episode of the sitcom of the same name premiered this week (AFTER the US, grumble grumble) and and I was both excited and intrigued to watch it - intrigued because I just wasn't sure how it would translate into a script, but so far so good!

A Tale Dark & Grimm

Henry Selick is the master of films that both creep you out whilst making you feel warm and safe all in one.  The Nightmare Before Christmas and James and the Giant Peach were both staples of my childhood (although I've never gotten over that evil rhino cloud).  He is currently working on two wonderful sounding films - A Tale Dark & Grimm - Hansel and Gretel stumbling into other Grimm fairy-tales and The Shadow King  - a stop motion film that tells the story of Hap, an orphan with unusually long fingers who learns to utilize them to make shadows that eventually go into battle with shadow monsters.  Sounds like the most magical film I will ever see, quite frankly.

That Awkward Moment

After the success of Hairspray and 17 Again, I had high hopes for the career of Zac Efron. They may have still been light-hearted, fun films but he proved he was an actor worth his salt, and not just a pretty teen idol with nothing behind the eyes.
He's certainly picked varied and sometimes controversial roles since then, but none have really lit the Oscars alight, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but it just means that therefore many of them haven't even made any waves this side of the Atlantic.
His newest choice interests me however, because it's so simple.  The Awkward Moment seems very laddy.  In fact, it looks to me to be the male equivalent of He's Just Not That Into You.  All that taken into consideration, I think this is a good step for Efron. He does comedy very well and whilst probably a bit predictable, it looks fun and I definitely want to watch it (nothing to do with the nudity, what... I didn't even know there was nudity!)

Avatar Land - Animal Kingdom

It looks beautiful!

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Lloydy's round-up

Couple of things that have caught my attention this week...

New American Hustle trailer
The teaser trailer did the rounds a while back and now the full official trailer for the much-anticipated American Hustle has arrived. A reunion for the Silver Linings Playbook dream team of David O. Russell, Bradley Cooper, J-Law and De Niro, along with the addition of Christian Bale and Amy Adams, makes for what could likely be a worthy Oscar-contender. And even if all else fails, it's still the most impressive array of hairstyles that I've seen for a while.

Jim Henson's Creature Shop Challenge

Syfy announced earlier in the week that they have given the go-ahead to a new Muppet reality show - surely no greater type of show -which will oversee competitors vying for a job in Jim Henson's Creature Shop, participating in challenges ranging from creating "everything from hand puppets to large-scale theatrical creatures".  This sounds AWESOME, I love Syfy and I LOVE The Muppets (Beaker ftw). I honestly cannot wait for this to start, WHY HASN'T IT ALREADY STARTED??

The Mean Girls Musical Update

According to Tina Fey's husband (he is scoring the musical) there are currently five songs in development, including an "October 3rd" song and a "Fetch" song, but they are struggling with how to portray the Christmas scene (Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell Rock... it is an iconic scene after all). Otherwise it sounds like it's coming along nicely, which I am very pleased about.

Earlier in the week I saw Prisoners, so expect a review in the next couple of days.  I'm also really looking forward to Alfonso Cuaron's Gravity and the LFF opener Captain Phillips opening over the next couple of weeks. Watch this space!

Friday, 11 October 2013

Future Film Friday: Battle of the Biopics

It's been a while since I've watched a good biopic, and it's a genre that is so hard to get right.  However there's a few in the pipeline that I can't help getting excited for...

The Musician One

I've been a huge fan Elton John since I was very young, having grown up listening to my parent's albums and falling in love with his songs such as Sacrifice and I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues, the latter has stayed a firm favourite my whole life. Therefore, this is the one I am MOST excited about, indeed I'm probably more excited about this than any other biopic in history.

'Rocketman' is still in the very early stages of pre-production but the film will follow Elton's life, from Reginald Dwight's childhood, through to the icon that we know today. Tom Hardy is currently touted for the lead , and whilst I am sure that the role is more than safe in his hands, I can't help but have my own favourite...

The Author One

Much of Theodor Geisel's work are already familiar to cinema-goers, but much less is known about the life of Dr Seuss.  The author, poet and cartoonist had a rich story of his own, interweaving with his work as a political cartoonist during WWII. Johnny Depp is producing the film and will likely take the lead in this. No release date is known as of yet, but it will be truly fascinating to see the man behind all those stories that we know and love.

The Athlete One
I'll be honest, with Bradley Cooper in the lead role, I would be excited about this film regardless of the content.  However, this is one film that I know I am not alone in eagerly anticipating.

The whole world was stunned when Lance Armstrong was charged with doping offences and stripped of his many titles.  Armstrong had been an inspiration to so many, battling testicular cancer and coming out the other side a hero.  Red Blooded American is certainly going to be one emotional movie.

Friday, 13 September 2013

Future Film Friday: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

July 21st 2007, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows hardback novel went on sale worldwide.  Almost exactly 4 years later, the final film was released, and a whole generation went into mourning.  For 10 years we followed the boy wizard's every move, devouring each of the seven novels and booking advance tickets for the release date of each of the eight films. I read Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone when I was eight years old, eighteen when the final book came out, and I was a loyal devotee through till the end.  As much as I still adore reading and finding new, unknown stories to tell everyone about, I don't think anything (or anyone) will ever capture my imagination quite as much as those seven books, because I grew up with them and with him, and I won't ever experience that again.  I both eagerly anticipated and dreaded both the final book and then again the film, because whilst I was dying to know what happened, I couldn't bear it all ending and having to face the realities of being all grown up.  So I was thrilled yesterday when I heard the news yesterday.

Anyone who may have missed it, J.K. Rowling has confirmed that she will be penning the screenplay for a new Harry Potter spin-off - Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Fans will already be familiar with this as the title of one of Harry's Hogwarts textbooks, but the film will focus on the book's author Newt Scamander and Rowling has noted that the film is neither a prequel or a sequel and will be set in New York, seventy years before Harry's story begins.

I truly think this is best choice she could have made regarding carrying on the wizarding world tastefully.  As much as I would have loved a series based on the tales of the Marauders, there are now so many fanfics whizzing around the internet that whatever she scripted would have either been cliché and expected or would have disappointed a lot of budding authors who had their hearts set on how they thought it should have been.  This way, she is continuing the magic, but with a character that has remained largely untouched by fans... that said, I am secretly hoping there is maybe a cheeky cameo from a known character, or even just a nod to the future story.

Here's a reminder of some classic HP screen moments: [source: Digital Spy]

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Let the countdown begin!

I wrote a while ago about the promotion for the first Hunger Games film ( but it seems Lionsgate has really kicked it up a notch for the second installment - Catching Fire - released towards the tail-end of 2013.

The official soundtrack song has been doing the rounds across various radio stations and the internet alike. It's called Atlas and it's the first cinematic offering from Coldplay, and generally their first anything in quite a while.

I like it! I like the way it slowly builds up, and then explodes, very much echoing the [SPOILER ALERT] plot.

Second juicy bit of enticement - Lionsgate, costume designer Trish Summerville and Net-A-Porter are all getting together to release 'Capital Couture' - a Hunger Games inspired fashion line.

Franchise fans will know how much importance is placed upon fashion in the books, so I think this is a really smart move and I cannot wait to see the range - however I must keep in mind that nothing I buy will make me look anything like Jennifer Lawrence.

More information can be found here -

Moving on at a slight tangent, but still sticking to the kick-ass-girls-in-dystopian-films theme, I want to talk a bit about Divergent.

I reread the book recently just to remind myself of the story, ahead of the film's release next year (the first time I read it, I read Delirium by Lauren Oliver straight after and then devised some kind of hybrid plot for both and got myself very confused). I'm glad I've read it again though because it's reminded me just how brilliant it is and now I cannot WAIT for the release!

There's a lot of scenes that I'm looking forward to, I won't say which ones for fear of ruining any surprises but there's a lot of pressure on the writers to keep all the good stuff in. I'd forgotten just how dark it was, more so than Hunger Games in my opinion (which is a big claim against a film about kids murdering each other) and a lot of really interesting locations (I'm thinking most about the chasm in Dauntless headquarters). I absolutely love the way Veronica Roth writes, she really knows how to write for her market, which is probably because she is so young (she was younger than I am now when she wrote the first book which means I have totally failed at life!)

I have mixed feelings on some of the casting, some characters are exactly as I imagined - Zoe Kravitz as Christina and Ashley Judd as Mummy Prior - YES, and I think Kate Winslet will be great as Jeanine. I'm reserving my judgement on Theo James as Four - he's certainly hot and tough enough, but looks a little old for his 18 year old character? I'm sure he will prove me wrong, which I sincerely hope as I don't want anything to alter how awesome this film has the potential to be!

Friday, 16 August 2013

Future Film Friday: D23 special

Currently, one of my main ambitions is to one day take a geek pilgrimage to Comic-Con in San Diego, trek around California for the folllowing few weeks before ending up at D23 Expo, the official Disney fan club's biennial event in Anaheim. Unfortunately, owing to the fact that I am yet to come into any large amounts of money and also the 5 thousand-odd miles distance, I am yet to make it to either event. However, that hasn't stopped me from devouring any snippet of information that I could find whilst scouring the internet for news. Here are the upcoming projects that I am most excited about...

Saving Mr. Banks
I've already gushed about this film here:

Into the Woods
I've been excited about this since I got wind of the casting, let alone when I read the synopsis. Stephen Sondheim's musical is a story of a baker and his wife's quest to start a family, their plot intertwining with well-known fairytale characters such as Jack and the Beanstalk, Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella among others. The film has been in the pipeline for a long, long time, and with the rumoured cast including Meryl Streep, James Corden, Johnny Depp, Emily Blunt, Christine Baranski and Chris Pine, then I am certain that this will be more than worth the wait.

Big Hero 6
The first Marvel production from Disney, Big Hero 6 is the story of superheroes in the fictional city of San Fransokyo (San Francisco+Tokyo - awesome). No casting information has been released, nor plot apart from "a group of six superheroes are recruited by the government to protect the nation... which I think we could have gauged from the title anyway...

I've never really gotten engaged with any of the recent live-actions, mostly out of laziness and the thought that "well, Alice in Wonderland I already know the story to," but this one has piqued my interest. Starring the Jolie, Maleficent's plot had been kept under wraps for ages but we've finally learnt that it is about the notorious villain's life pre-Aurora. Can't wait!

Thinking about it, Disney has largely neglected stories using anthropomorphized animals, with Robin Hood, and Winnie the Pooh, to an extent, being the only films that I can think of where the animals strut and swagger like humans. Zootopia is the next to be added to that list. Whilst the film centres around a quick-witted fox on the run from the law, Zootopia is a whole different world entirely. Separated into different regions depending on the different animals. There's Sahara Square (desert), Tundratown (arctic landscape) and Little Rodentia (you can guess). Sounds really interesting and I'm looking forward to seeing the final result.


The Good Dinosaur
Imagine a world where dinosaurs hadn't died out, and instead became the dominant species. The Good Dinosaur follows Arlo as he befriends a human boy and together they embark on an adventure. The film will feature the voices of Lucas Neff, Bill Hader, Judy Greer, Neil Patrick Harris, John Lithgow and Frances McDormand. Phew!

Inside Out
If I had to order the films in this (slightly long) list by my excitement levels then this one would definitely be in the top 3, not least because one of the voices include Amy Poehler. Inside Out will be an emotional film... starring the emotions Anger, Disgust, Fear, Joy and Sadness to be precise. All five live inside Riley's head, but when Joy and Sadness get lost, the other three try to retain the balance. Gaaahhh it sounds so fun!!

I was disappointed that there was no news of the Dia de los Muertos film but I guess it's too early to say anything.

And finally...

When I was 10 years old, I gave a storming presentation to my classmates on the subject of... bears. It had pictures, it had video clips and it has a performance of Teddy Bear's Picnic on my flute. It went down a treat, HOWEVER, I can't help but wish that I could have just shown this...

Friday, 9 August 2013

Future Film Friday: Muppets Most Wanted

It's time to play the music, it's time to light the lights, it's time to get excited for the new Muppet film tonight! (or next year). 

Yes, the sequel to 2011's blockbuster The Muppets is on its way! Although, I'm not sure why Muppets Most Wanted is being labelled as a 'sequel' when The Muppets was certainly not the first Muppets movie (and arguably not the best... am I right Muppets Treasure Island fans??). 

THAT SAID, I am looking forward to the release of Muppets Most Wanted next year, although a lot of that anticipation is reserved for seeing if the promotion of the movie can live up to the hype of the last one. From parodies of Twilight to Miss Piggy's X Factor performance with Olly Murs, two years ago we saw a lot of the Muppets, and I'm looking forward to even more in 2014. 

The second reason I'm so excited for this film is the brilliant casting. I'm not talking so much about Ricky Gervais, but Tina Fey and Ty Burrell, stars of two of my absolute favourite sitcoms in recent times (I'm really hoping Ty Burrell is actually playing Phil Dunphy playing Jean Pierre Napoleon!)

It's a long time to wait though, so in the meantime I'll have to entertain myself with BBC's own 'Muppet show' - The Puppet Game Show, created by The Jim Henson Company themselves, which incorporates a very similar format to its predecessor (puppets entertaining front-of-house while backstage, chaos ensues) but with an additional celebrity gameshow element. It sounds interesting, but if it's not for you, then here's the movie trailer. Enjoy!


Thursday, 25 July 2013

Future Film Friday: Saving Mr Banks

Contrary to my first thought, this is not a sequel to Saving Private Ryan (but Tom Hanks sure does love saving people).

Saving Mr Banks is the Disney film behind the Disney film, the story of how P.L. Travers's Mary Poppins became Walt Disney's Mary Poppins, and the struggles in between. 

It has been well-documented that Disney and Travers often clashed and she had frequently rebuffed his attempts to purchase the film rights. She also hated the end result, particularly the world-renowned songs from the Sherman Brothers (I don't know how anyone could not like Jolly Holiday at the very least!). 
As the very first Disney film to star Walt Disney as a main character, I am intrigued to see how he is portrayed, because, although he is the founder of the greatest corporation in the world (FACT), he certainly wasn't perfect. But I'm not sure his own company will want to show him that way. 

However, the film stars a stellar cast (Tom Hanks AND Emma Thompson?? Stop it!) and anything that involves scenes filmed in Disneyland is a-ok with me!

If all that wasn't enough to whet your appetite, then how about knowing that in 2011 it was voted one of the best unproduced screenplays circulating in Hollywood?? I am enormously excited for this film and I'm not sure if I can stand the wait until January 2014! At least I have this newly-released poster to entertain me though...

This has been on my mind...

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Review: Monsters University

Director: Dan Scanlon
Main Cast: Billy Crystal, John Goodman, Helen Mirren
Runtime: 104 minutes
Certificate: U (UK)
(source: IMDB)

There are two kinds of people. Those who watched Disney films as a kid and then 'grew out of them' (a likely story) and those who are in it for life. I am one of those people.
I believe there are also two kinds of Disney films. The ones that are aimed at the kids (adults may enjoy them but the comedy is primarily young - recent examples being Bolt and the Cars franchise) and those that are definitely more for the older audience. I don't mean X-rated or horrific violence but just the provision of dry, wittier humour and subtle references to classic films (Princess Bride!). Examples that spring to mind are The Emperor's New Groove, Wreck-It Ralph and Disney/Pixar's latest offering - Monsters University.

I wrote a while ago about the impressive promotion ( in the lead-up to the film's release and I was a little worried that the hype would be greater than the actual film...

Whilst the prequel of Monsters Inc. doesn't quite match the originality and depth of Monsters Inc., it is still a solid and funny contribution from Pixar, and a good lesson in "don't judge a book by its cover" or, more literally, "short monsters can be scary too" (a message that really resonates with me). And, instead of the film feeling like an excuse to cash in on the previous success, we are provided with new, original stories to enjoy.

The film documents the university life of Sullivan and Mike, and how they eventually came to meet, and, being polar opposites, subsequently despise each other. Mike is the studious, hard-working student who desperately wants the chance to prove himself and his scaring abilities. Sulley is the arrogant frat boy who is cruising along on the back of his father's success. As the film progresses, we see the two thrown together and start to learn more about each other.

There was still stuff for the kids, with some really meaningful life lessons - prior to the end credits we see the duo working their way up the career ladder to get to where they want to be, rather than thrown straight in without any sign of how they got there. Of course, we all know that there is technically a happy ending because we've all seen Monsters Inc., but the slight twist at the end is very interesting.

I can't end this review without a very impressed nod to the preceding short 'The Blue Umbrella'. I have never seen such photorealistic animation... it wasn't until the end that I realised that it wasn't live-action! The short centres around a blue and red umbrella who enjoying a fleeting love before being separated in a storm. It's such an emotional piece, packing so much into the 5 minute slot.

All in all, Monsters University is a hilarious and fun film that certainly doesn't let the Pixar catalogue down and I will definitely be seeing again during it's theatrical run. Let's hear it for the misfits! OK?

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Mad Fashion and Modern Nails

Aside from the adultery, backstabbing and occasional ad-making that goes on at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce (sorry, Sterling Cooper & Partners), something else that Mad Men is famed for is the eye-catching fashion.

I was really excited to hear that MM's costume designer, Janie Bryant, is to be in development on a new design competition series, giving aspiring designers the chance to create outfits and costumes in the style of either a classic Hollywood film, or based on a celebrity's signature style.

I'm not particularly clued up on fashion but I love Project Runway, and taking into account the sheer thought and imagination that goes into Betty Francis and Megan Draper's wardrobe, I can imagine this will be even more fabulous. Really looking forward to seeing who the judges are too. 


On a separate note, I've just discovered the Modern Family tie in range from O.P.I nails!

My particular favourite is A Like-Haley story. Ha!

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Oo-Be-Do, I Wanna Be Like (all of) You

Reports are suggesting that Disney have another live-action in the pipeline to follow the likes of Alice and Wonderland and the upcoming Maleficent - this time they have their sights set on The Jungle Book.

As awesome as a 21st century live-action version of Rudyard Kipling's story sounds, let's not forget that Warner Bros have already announced their own version and a quick browse of imdb tells me that ANOTHER one is also in the mix, due 2014... 

Looks like there'll be an outbreak of jungle fever over the next few years, but we'll have to wait and see how many people catch it...

Monday, 8 July 2013

Pride and Bromancing

It's been a brilliant couple of days for news about movie hunks.

First up...

Joggers, tourists and any other kind of London wanderer had quite the Monday morning treat today, when none other than Mr Darcy popped out of the Serpentine.

Apparently this was to celebrate the launch of 'Drama', the new channel from UKTV but enough of the finer details, JUST LOOK AT HIM *drools*

Ahem. Secondly...

How AWESOME was Wimbledon yesterday?! So so proud of Murray!! And whilst 90% of eyes were glued to the action, I can imagine quite a few females in Centre Court had one eye trained on the royal box, specifically at these two...

I love that all the tabloids have picked up on the beautiful bromance that was brewing mere metres from the match. It was really was something quite special to see, and I felt all warm at how much B-Coop was cheering for Murray and the Brits. And look! They're taking a selfie! *Swoon* 

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

YA genre marketing and fan engagement

Over the past couple of years, I've really embraced the YA fiction genre - possibly more so than when I was actually the target audience. Dystopian fiction in particular has really captured my imagination, but, more importantly, has also caught the attention of Hollywood. Most prominent at the moment has to be The Hunger Games franchise, with the second film in the trilogy set for release in November of this year. One of the great things about this kind of genre, is that it really opens up the opportunities to its target audience, allowing them to interact within this new world. As we have seen in the past with the Harry Potter franchise institution, readers can get fully involved, from connecting with fellow fans through role play (eg 'what house are you?'), fanfiction and fan art at one end of the spectrum, through to truly immersing yourself in the culture of the story, such as the theme park, the studio tour and various tours and exhibitions that have sprung up in the past couple of years.

Back to The Hunger Games, we can see the same thing happening, particularly embracing social media as part of the film's promotion.  One of the best things about movies based on adaptations of existing novels is that they already have that initial fan base, so they can really embrace the story from the offset, and especially so with YA dystopian because there are often very distinctive themes and characters involved, such as the different districts in The Hunger Games.

The main example of The Hunger Games social media promotion, is the introduction of the District Identification Pass (DIP). By logging onto Facebook or Twitter via the Capitol Network, the user will be registered as a citizen of 'Panem' and assigned an district, citizen number and occupation.  The user is then encouraged to join said district on the official HG Facebook page.  There is an elected mayor for each district, but, even more importantly, there are journalists, who provide Hunger Games news and sneak peeks at exclusive content.  This type of social media activity not only actively promotes the film, but really gives the fans a sense of community and enables them to really engage with the franchise.  

That said, there's a few films currently in development that I'll be keeping my eyes peeled for come the months leading up to release date...


Another dystopian fic, this time where society is divided into factions based on personality traits - Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Amity (the peaceful), Erudite (the intelligent) and Dauntless (the brave). There is also a group of people known as Divergent (BUT WE DON'T TALK ABOUT THAT). Oh, and Factionless (again, less said about them the better). 

I'm really looking forward to how the promotion of this film embraces the different factions and allows fans to choose who they want to be.

The Night Circus

We don't have much information to go on with this film because so far it has only been optioned, but it was optioned by Heyday Films so we KNOW it's in safe hands. 

The film centres around the build-up to a duel between two young magicians against the backdrop of the black-and-white striped canvas tent of The Night Circus which appears out of warning in the night.... Just imagine how beautiful this will be! I can't wait to see stills and concept artwork and when there's magic and circus performance involved, the marketing possibilities for this are almost endless.

Watch this space!

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Secret Life Of...

'Secret Life Of...' is a biography with a difference, giving an inside look into the lives of some of history's most prolific characters and lifting the lid on some of the more juicy details that you won't have learnt in your school history lessons. The series will cover such favourites as Shakespeare, Casanova and Henry VII. Ahead of the launch, Yesterday has released a series of images that imagine what these icons would look like if they were alive now. Here is the press release: My favourite has to be the 'powerful, no-nonsense' Elizabeth 1, as a Tudor fan, I think they've got her spot on, and I will definitely be tuning into the series!
  Source: Taylor Herring

Friday, 26 April 2013

Monsters University promotional activity

Earlier this week, Pixar unveiled the third and final trailer for the eagerly anticipated Monsters University, the prequel to Monsters Inc., and likely summer smash hit. Take a look!

Pixar are truly the masters at promotion, building anticipation and excitement around a movie launch, regardless of whether it's a sequel or not.  Trailers aside, they've stayed current and digital-savvy throughout the pre-launch build up, utilizing viral marketing very successfully.

First up, the BRILLIANT microsite masquerading as an 'academic' website -

The site is full of pages and pages of believable copy from amusing testimonials to campus map and event calendar.  The sheer thought that has gone into every page is astounding - there's even a section for Monsters Univ ID card and login!

Not content with developing one viral site, Pixar swiftly jumped on the Tumblr bandwagon, mimicking the success of blogs filled with Twitter-style updates and Instagram photos. The cleverly-titled "The Grumblr" shares updates from university events and around campus -

All executed in the way you'd expect from a Disney/Pixar launch and really sets the bar in future film marketing.  Monsters University is released in the UK on Friday 12th July 2013.