Movie Review – The Mummy

The Mummy returns to the big screen, but should rightly have remained in its grave.


Zachary Cruz-Tan

The Mummy is one of the worst movies of the year. It is a colossal miscalculation; a foolhardy idea that somehow degenerates down the evolution ladder till it resembles a pile of gooey protoplasm no living being would dare go near. It is a monster movie with pathetic monsters and action heroes who look like supermodels. It has an A-list cast, but treats them like B-grade drama students. That Tom Cruise is the star is no guarantee of quality; he is so detached from this debacle I’m surprised the film holds itself together at all. Goodness gracious, what an uncomfortable experience.

This is a movie that is flawed at its core. Never mind the plot, which makes no sense. Its technical skill is subpar. Night scenes are so dim and grey it’s almost impossible to make out who or what is on the screen. The editing dips in and out of sanity. There are flashbacks and flashforwards, hallucinations and all manner of visual techniques, but they’re never harmonised into a fluid sequence of events. If you can’t get the basics right, it won’t matter how great your story is. Your film needs to function before it can work.

The plot, such as it is, involves gods and princesses, sinister pacts and woeful vengeance. Although, since said vengeance is carried out by the princess in an opening flashback to Ancient Egypt, where she kills the pharaoh and his infant heir to ascend the throne, I have no idea why she returns some five thousand years later with unfinished business. What’s her motive now? Does she expect to find the throne still waiting for her? I found it amusing that despite missing thousands of years of technological advancement, not once does she stop to admire a car.

Cruise plays Nick Morton, a tomb raider who looks exactly like Ethan Hunt on vacation. Nick discovers the tomb of the princess Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella) and immediately thinks of profit. His old flame Jenny (Annabelle Wallis), however, believes the body is worth more to science than to Nick’s bank account. The sarcophagus is loaded onto a military plane. The plane is brought down by a murder of crows. People die, and Nick has to put Ahmanet back. Oh, and for some reason Russell Crowe makes an appearance as Doctor Jekyll. Yes, that Doctor Jekyll.

So what’s happening here is a setup for a shared universe in which Universal plans to revive all its classic monsters. We can no doubt expect new movies based on the Wolf Man, the Invisible Man, the Phantom of the Opera, and maybe even Dracula. The Mummy is an inauspicious way to kick things off. It is lazy and visually confusing. I enjoyed the older Mummy movies, with Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz, because they knew they were outrageous and behaved accordingly. This one, directed by Alex Kurtzman, is just as outrageous but is in desperate need of a behavioural therapist.

The Mummy is available in Australian cinemas from June 8 

Image (c) Universal Pictures 2017

Movie Review – A Quiet Passion

Come taste a biopic never brewed
From Terrance Davies’ scrawl
Never did Sex and the City give
Miss Nixon such fine lingual!

⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Corey Hogan

Though her genius would not gain recognition until after her death, Emily Dickinson is now considered one of the most important poets of the 19th century. Eccentric and forever defiant of the cultural norms of the period, she is removed from her Seminary as a young schoolgirl (Emma Bell) and returned to her family home in Amherst. In her middle age (Cynthia Nixon), she finds a strong passion in writing poetry, however, by her later life she becomes a recluse; toxic to anyone who dares disturb her as both her mental and physical health deteriorate significantly.

Writer/director Terrence Davies (Sunset Song) takes a probing, detailed look at the life, work and relationships of the beloved poet in A Quiet Passion. It’s girthy stuff, delving deep into the remote recesses of Dickinson’s troubled life that most biopics wouldn’t dare brave. Never once does it dumb down the eloquence or shy away from the suffering that came with living in this age.

But in being such a dense portrayal lies its main issue – inaccessibility. For anyone not well versed in Dickinson’s lyricisms or the convoluted high-class talk of the time period, this is a long and difficult slog, with only a few moments of lighter whimsy. A few early scenes in which Emily playfully banters with her siblings and a snarky teacher are genuinely funny, and there’s a sense that this could have been another giddily enjoyable episode of Victorian-era comedic delights.

Love & Friendship this is not, though. Smiles quickly fade as light-heartedness is soon replaced by sombre melodrama. Consistent melancholy hangs oppressively in the air, eventually feeling like a real mood-killer.

It doesn’t help that Emily, though gifted as she is, becomes massively unpleasant and incredibly difficult to warm to, and that much of the turmoil she faces is a result of her own decisions to isolate herself and act acidic towards the people who only wish her well. It’s unlike anything you’d expect from Sex and the City’s Cynthia Nixon, who is truly outstanding in the role, and pins down the tongue-twisting dialogue and emotional anguish with soul-baring perfection.

With a somewhat stale colour palette to the cinematography too, there’s very little glamour in Terrence Davies’ gloomy painting of one of the most creative and distinguished women of American history. That said, there’s never been such a meticulous and exhaustive look at the life of Emily Dickinson before, and it’s unlikely there ever will be one so tenacious and well-performed again. Dickinson fans and period drama aficionados are in for an absolute treat; to everyone else, approach with caution.

A Quiet Passion is available in Australian cinemas from June 22

Image courtesy of Palace Films

Top 5 Tension Killing Superpowers

Cody Fullbrook 

It’s hard to have high stakes drama when your supervillain’s powers make them virtually unstoppable, or your superhero has abilities that mean he or she can basically never be killed. Here’s five superpowers we’ve all seen in countless films that immediately suck all the dramatic tension out of the air.

5. Shapeshifting 

While very common amongst villains, possibly due to human’s intrinsic distrust of strangers, heroes such as Mr Fantastic and Plastic Man have the ability to morph their body into all sorts of shapes. This often evaporates tension since it can be practically impossible for them to be captured, encumbered or even hurt.

Characters like Mystique from X-Men can only attempt to vanish in a crowd, but Clayface, Sandman and others can do more than just look like other people/a pile of sand.  Their entire body can twist into virtually anything like clubs, swords and even crossbows, making it obvious why Spider-Man 3’s Sandman was portrayed as a tortured villain that was let go after the climax. There was no other choice. How could you defeat him?  Light him on fire and make reading glasses out of him?

4. Teleportation 

How can you stop something that can go anywhere, dodge any threat or effortlessly blink out of a room?  Try to get a grasp on the parameters of a fight in the Dragon Ball series where the fighters jot around the screen like steroidal hummingbirds.

Even considering Nightcrawler’s words in X2; “I have to be able to see where I am going, otherwise I could wind up inside a wall”, teleportation can save anyone from virtually any threat.  Nightcrawler and Azazel can even hold people and teleport with them so even their ability to heroically save others isn’t extremely arguable.

Contrary to Samuel L Jackson’s character in Jumper, these characters aren’t everywhere at once, but can nonetheless escape virtually all dangers. I’ve also never understood why these characters don’t just teleport their fist into an enemy’s head.  Similar to how in The Philosopher’s Stone, Dumbledore could conjure food out of thin air, but when he’s battling Voldemort, why doesn’t he just pop a turkey leg into his brain.

3. Super healing 

Logan made a smart decision in crippling Wolverine’s healing factor, to a point where the film’s climactic finale had it switch off completely.  But even though we can admit that Wolverine and Deadpool are awesome characters, it’s still tricky to understand the threat they’re in when they can simply heal themselves from any wound.

This isn’t like shape shifting or teleporting where, if you’ve been shot, you’re basically done for.  Any fight scene with super healers becomes a vague battle of physical attrition, as was the case in Deadpool as our wise cracking protagonist only getting mildly perturbed by a severed hand and knife in the head.  At least Wolverine was knocked out with a headshot in X2, even though when the same thing happened in Origins he just kept scowling.  Continuity…

2. Super Speed 

Similar to teleportation, however, super speed not only augments the placement of one’s body but also the force of its movement.  Why do you think The Flash can punch someone really fast, but Nightcrawler can’t?

The problem with Super Speed is that its potency makes its user practically invincible.  They can dodge anything, whether it’s running from an explosion or moving away from a bullet or fist.  It also grants them numerous abilities that many may consider their own separate powers such as flight, running on water or moving through walls.

1. Time travel 

I’m sure we all saw this coming, and just like the ability of clairvoyance, every writer knows to avoid it like Poison Ivy’s lips.

As soon as you have someone who can go anywhere and change any event, the story is over. The hero can simply go back in time and find a helpless version of the villain and kill them effortlessly, Terminator style.

Granted, movies like The Butterfly Effect portray time travel as a useless endeavour, but the conflict there arises due to its futility, not the ability itself.  It seems wisest thing to do with time travel stories is to simply place the power into a device (The Time Machine), a car (Back To The Future) or some kind of hot tub time machine.  I forget what movie that’s from.

Image courtesy of X-Men: Days of Future Past, Twentieth Century Fox

Movie Review – Wonder Woman

With Patty Jenkins’ confident handling of Wonder Woman, the DCEU finally gets one right.

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Zachary Cruz-Tan

About twenty minutes into Wonder Woman I realised with great satisfaction that this wasn’t going to be another mindless action movie with endless explosions and sickening sidekicks. This is a movie that thinks, feels, and acts the way it should, by allowing its characters to stand up, take notice, and be noticed. While all the Supermans and Iron Mans save the world through some misguided altruistic machismo, Wonder Woman has two of the most vital qualities any hero should have: love and an unwavering sense of justice. She is also tough, compassionate and impossibly charming. Three adjectives not used enough to describe women of the screen.

The movie begins in The Louvre. Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) receives from her friend Bruce Wayne a photograph of her from World War I and a card that reads “I hope one day you will tell me your story”. Of course, Wayne is not in the screenplay, so Diana tells the story to us instead. We jump back many years and many leagues, to a paradise island said to have been made by Zeus. On this island live only women, called Amazons, who dress like American Gladiators and fear that one day, Ares, god of war, will return to destroy the world.

Whether or not he does, I will not say. Thankfully, Wonder Woman spends little time dwelling on the possibilities and shifts swiftly to an on-going war story involving an American spy for the British, Steve Trevor (Chris Pine), who is rescued by Diana after his plane crashes off her island. Yes, it is written in the stars, or in this case the plane crash, that Steve and Diana will forge a romance. But what is not written is how mature they will be at expressing themselves. A scene where Steve steps out of a bath right in front of Diana might have been cheapened by childish overreactions in a lesser film, but director Patty Jenkins, whose fantastic Monster (2003) deftly illustrated the strengths and weaknesses of women, understands that movie romances don’t require innuendos or gratuity, only heartfelt emotion and possibly tragedy.

This is a movie that doesn’t feel like an extended trailer. It’s got pumping action, cute little throwaway lines, thrilling chases and quiet moments of reflection. By the end, our heroes become heroes; the wide-eyed, optimistic Diana grows out of the idyllic cocoon of her youth by learning a nasty truth about the people she’s trying to protect; and the romance reaches fever pitch. Everything unfolds as it should, and Jenkins ensures that nothing gets truly out of hand.

Oh, did I mention the villain? He’s Danny Huston playing a psychotic war-mongering German general with dreams of taking over the world.

Wonder Woman tries to be all things to all people, and just about succeeds. It is an epic superhero fantasy that’s also a rousing war film and an electric love story. It is complete, perfectly content to live within the confines of itself and not be a setup for what’s to come or a cheap rip-off of what’s come before. After all the Marvel movies, this is a refreshing change.

Wonder Woman is available in Australian cinemas from June 1st 

Image courtesy of Roadshow Films

 

Movie Review – Churchill

Brian Cox is a dead ringer for Winston Churchill in Jonathan Teplitzky’s thoughtful account of Operation Overlord.

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Zachary Cruz-Tan

Churchill takes place during the apex of World War II, but is not about fighting. It may trace a few days in the life of one of the most important men in human history, and may be named after the man, but is not a biopic. This is a winsome eulogy to the excessiveness of war; a sad reminder that dying on a battlefield is not glorious but pointless. That no matter how badly you need to win, men and women still die, erased from existence forever.

Churchill is played by Brian Cox, who very much resembles Brian Cox when the camera kisses his face but miraculously transforms into the great prime minister whenever the lens widens and pulls out (thanks, I’m sure, to the sharp costume work by Bartholomew Cariss). He’s haunted by the immense failure of the Gallipoli offensive of the First World War – a failure that ended his run in the military, nearly killing his political career – and protests to Dwight Eisenhower (John Slattery) and Bernard Montgomery (Julian Wadham) that their plan to storm the beaches of Normandy is foolhardy. Is he wrong? Of course not. Hundreds of thousands of young men perished fruitlessly on the Gallipoli beaches; Churchill foresees the pattern repeating in France and refuses to bear such innocent blood again.

This turmoil is the backbone of the movie, which at times drops sensationally into melodrama. Cox’s Churchill is not so much a leader with an iron fist as a portly drunk plagued by indecision and guilt. His exclusion from Allied affairs leads to tantrums tempered only by his wife Clementine (Miranda Richardson), who is tired of “living around his edges” and behaves very much like a weary mother disciplining a self-destructive delinquent. But again, Churchill is not about the man, or the woman, or the rickety relationship between them; it is about the unimaginable and often impossible choices leaders have to make in times of conflict.

This is the kind of war movie that sits very far from the violent flashes of Saving Private Ryan and pauses, sometimes too dramatically, to ponder the humanity of it all. There are some brilliant and genuinely moving exchanges between Churchill and Clementine, and some hilarious confrontations with his breathless team of analysts, sidekicks and secretaries. But director Jonathan Teplitzky never allows the gravitas of warfare to subside. As D-Day approaches and all the generals and tacticians convene to decide the fate of their men, we are held rigid with apprehension despite never seeing the front lines. It recalls the old adage that what we don’t see can frighten us more than what’s exploding in front of our faces.

I give Churchill four stars and yet I don’t think it’s entirely successful. The plot is written in such a way that remembering the order of events becomes a guessing game (Churchill meets with his American allies so many times the chronology of what they discuss gets jumbled up). The music services the mood of the scenes instead of supporting them, and the closing scene is so sweetly ponderous it belongs in a fragrance commercial. What works wonderfully are the performances in making us believe politicians actually have a heart, and the illustrations of the mental and emotional terrors of war. Churchill might have been losing his grip toward the end of his career, but his heart was always in the right place. The Allies won, of course, but for all the dead men strewn about Normandy beach, that’s all the war ever meant to them.

Churchill is available in Australian cinemas from June 8

Image courtesy of Transmission Films

Movie Review – Wilson

Though it’s more portrait than narrative, Woody Harrelson shows real commitment to the kooky, aging extrovert at the beating heart of Wilson.

⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Corey Hogan

Eccentric, middle-aged man Wilson (Woody Harrelson) spends his days walking his dog and greeting every person he runs into with a good-natured but uncomfortable amount of friendliness. Long-divorced, lonely, neurotic and craving human connection, he’s fallen into an existential spiral, convinced he’s missed out on a worthwhile life and serves no purpose to anyone. One day, he learns that his ex-wife Pippi (Laura Dern) is back in town and seeks her out, only for her to reveal that she gave birth to the daughter he was told was aborted, and put her up for adoption. With that ray of hope in his life, Wilson convinces Pippi to help him track down their daughter (Isabella Amara) and try to be a part of her life.

Director Craig Johnson (The Skeleton Twins) brings another graphic novel of Daniel Clowes (Ghost World) to screen, and the result is similarly amusing, but not quite as successful as either of their previous efforts. While Wilson’s titular character is easy to warm to – or at the very least relate to when he’s spouting nihilistic ramblings – the film as a whole is a little harder to connect with. It seems to aim for the indie comedy field, but it’s less quirky than aggressively strange, and more than a little confronting and bewildering at times. Much of what spills out of Wilson’s mouth is more likely to cause a singular shocked laugh-gasp than a fit of giggles.

It’s a confounding blend of feelings; given that Wilson’s heart is in the right place, he does earn our sympathy in between our grimaces. Thankfully things balance a bit better when Pippi is re-introduced into his life, and he’s given a worn-out and volatile yang to bounce off his kind-hearted ying. It reinforces the fact that Woody Harrelson performs best as part of a double-act (evidenced in everything from White Men Can’t Jump to True Detective). Harrelson and Laura Dern are great together, and when fatherhood is thrust upon Wilson, Harrelson is given more to let him shine opposite his seventeen-year-old, overweight emo daughter Claire (an at-once likeable Isabella Amara). Heart-warmingly, he holds no judgement towards her; he’s just ecstatic to be in her life.

Wilson’s real issue is that there’s just a bit too little meat on its bones to chew on. Outside of its strong central performances, there’s a sense of missed opportunity here to make this a truly compelling take on misfits assembling family. The third act that unravels everything and forces Wilson to start over feels like a misstep; even if it does offer him the opportunity to grow up and complete his arc, it separates the clan just as they’re giving the film its best material. Sentimentality and depth isn’t its strong suit, but Wilson is an entertaining ride, and – with Woody Harrelson on his finest form – worth recommending.

Wilson is available in Australian cinemas from May 25 

Image courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

Movie Review – 20th Century Women

Like looking at a polaroid that captured a treasured memory, 20th Century Women is a dizzyingly beautiful snapshot of life and the moments that make it.

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Corey Hogan

It’s a time of huge cultural change, rebellion and liberation in 1979 as determined single mother Dorothea (Annette Bening) faces the challenge of raising her easily influenced teenage son Jamie (Lucas Jade Zumann) alone. Concerned she’s unable to connect with him, and with no father figure in sight, she enlists the help of two other women in Jamie’s life (Elle Fanning and Greta Gerwig respectively) to help raise him.

Writer/director Mike Mills successfully explored his father’s coming out (and subsequent death) in his excellent film Beginners, and now with 20th Century Women he takes a semi-autobiographical look at his childhood and his relationship with his mother. At surface level, it’s standard indie fare, equal parts comedic and dramatic, but Mills digs deeper than many of his peers, getting under the skin of his characters.

With a golden, sunbathed tint to everything, there’s the feeling that we’re warmly reliving an old memory. Scenes are intercut with clips of bands playing and Jimmy Carter delivering speeches, rooting a strong sense of nostalgia in place. There’s an infectious and joyous optimism that buzzes around these open-minded people, even as they all seem pretty damn confused and directionless a lot of the time.

Elle Fanning and Greta Gerwig are both on typically fine form, showing more of why they’re currently owning the indie scene. Lucas Jade Zumann is granted his breakout role after a few smaller ones, gleefully promising a bright acting future. The star of the show though is Annette Bening. Having intensely studied recreating what Mills claims is a highly accurate rendering of his own mother, Bening breathes life into a terrific woman, and gives one of the best performances of her career.

20th Century Women is, in simple terms, a wonderful time. It’s a deeply personal, rose-tinted love letter to the people of a period that bleeds into our own, and a breath of fresh air and optimism where cynicism feels far too commonplace. Beautifully shot, insightful and witty, Mills’ childhood makes for a deep and delightful piece of cinema.

20th Century Women is available in Australian cinemas from June 1st 

Image courtesy of EntertainmentOne Films

Movie Review – Baywatch

American comedies are stuck in a rut and Baywatch isn’t the solution.

⭐ ⭐
Rhys Graeme-Drury

Baywatch is the latest in an increasingly long line of self-aware remakes of ‘80s and ‘90s TV shows to be given the Jump Street treatment. Lewd, crude and 100% aware of its own stupidity, this new breed of comedy remakes is following the trail blazed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller, only to much less success.

Let me say this straight up; Baywatch is not a good movie in any quantifiable sense. It’s really dumb, aggressively stupid and a blatant attempt to cash-in on the same vein of ‘90s nostalgia that prompted Hollywood to think a gritty reboot of Power Rangers was a good idea. It’s every other raunchy R-rated comedy (Bad Neighbours, Horrible Bosses) redressed, reheated and rereleased into cinemas just like we get every couple of months.

And yet, despite this pervading sense of suffocating mediocrity, it’s incredibly hard to critique a film like Baywatch. Not because it’s a shining star of wit and ingenuity, but because the film and everyone involved are leaning really hard into its own silliness in an awkward and ham-fisted attempt to appear cool or irreverent. They want us to think they’re in on the joke too, almost like they know the film is disposable and just kinda crap but they’re going to roll with it anyway because trying is for losers. Let me tell you, two hours of stifling smugness and self-importance does not make for a good time.

That’s not to say Baywatch doesn’t offer some semblance of entertainment. There are a handful of amusing gags in here, such as the playful banter and one-upmanship displayed by Dwayne Johnson and Zac Efron. The former, as always, is immensely likeable and the latter wholeheartedly embraces his meathead typecasting with gusto. A couple of the supporting characters, namely Jon Bass’ Ronnie and Alexandra Daddario’s Summer, deliver some laughs also.

But Baywatch isn’t able to give them much to work with. Efron’s character struggles to find a consistent arc throughout the film, covering everything from sympathetic and washed-up to dim-witted and clumsy whilst lead love interest Summer has next to no discerning character traits whatsoever, tasked instead with spending 80% of her screen time on the fringes of the frame looking bemused and batting her eyelashes.

Maybe I’m just thinking about this too much, but one could make the case that Baywatch is emblematic of everything wrong with mainstream Hollywood comedies nowadays. Underdeveloped on plot, overlong on runtime, overdependent on improvisation and unnecessarily crude for the sake of it, Baywatch really doesn’t do anything other than the bare minimum. It’s got boobs, bums and biceps, some of which are attached to fine specimens like Efron and Daddario. Throw in a couple of lazy cameos, uninspired action sequences and an ending that sets up the sequel and there’s your film.

If you ask me, that’s not nearly enough when it comes to the vast range of techniques a filmmaker could and should employ to make an audience laugh. When your biggest gag is an aroused fat kid getting his knob stuck in a sun lounger, you know something needs to improve.

Baywatch is available in Australian cinemas from June 1

Image courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Movie Review – King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

Sometimes, less is more.

⭐ ⭐
Cherie Wheeler

Throw the traditional tale of the Knights of the Round Table into a blender, add a dash of Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, then mix it in with any generic, supernatural video game that heavily leans on stylised violence, and ta-da! You’ll have something that resembles Guy Ritchie’s King Arthur: Legend of the Sword.

The world of Camelot has been visited many times before on both the small and silver screens, so I appreciate the need to take some creative liberties on the original material to produce something fresh, but unfortunately, Ritchie’s re-envisioning of this classic story doesn’t quite land.

In Legend of the Sword, you can forget about Guinevere and Lancelot, and forgo any hopes of Merlin hanging around long enough to do anything significant. Instead, as the title suggests, this film is all about the sword in the stone: Excalibur.

Jealous brother to the King (Jude Law) craves power and uses dark magic to steal the throne from his royal sibling (Eric Bana). The son of the King, Arthur (Charlie Hunnam) grows up orphaned in a slum with no knowledge of his heritage, while his Uncle rules Camelot with an iron fist. Resistance fighters loyal to Arthur’s father seek out the “true King” to lead a revolution with the power of the sword, but this Arthur is cocky, belligerent, and of course, reluctant to fulfil his birthright. There’s also a wide range of subplots running alongside this that include (but are certainly not limited to…) a sorceress, a gang of Vikings and a couple of non-white characters who’ve been blatantly shoehorned in for political correctness.

As you can see, we’ve already got a rather convoluted story, but this gets weighed down further by bulky exposition and supernatural mythology. Ritchie’s knee-jerk reaction is to turn to frenetic pacing and chaotic editing to try and keep things interesting. The end result, however, is a mind-boggling whirlwind. The fantastical elements are beyond far-fetched and simply don’t gel with the dialogue heavy, time-jumping style of storytelling.

On the bright side, there is some magnificent production design and cinematography on display, but it has clearly drawn its inspiration from Game of Thrones. In fact, the film tries a little too hard to emulate the HBO series, even borrowing Roose Bolton and Littlefinger for supporting cast roles. It doesn’t ever reach the same level of raw impact during its violent action sequences due to its reliance on well executed, but ultimately excessive visual effects.

Charlie Hunnam does what he can to bring to life this cheeky and obnoxious version of Arthur, but the character’s arrogance and disrespect for authority pushes credibility at times. I found myself constantly questioning the actions and motives of many characters and was not satisfied with the convenient explanations that would pop up in delayed flashback sequences to fill in holes of information.

At the end of the day, Legend of the Sword tries to be too many things at once. While Tarantino’s Kill Bill films and the more recent Get Out manage to successfully meld multiple styles and genre tropes, Ritchie’s King Arthur simply becomes a confusing, hot mess.

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword is available in Australian cinemas from May 18

Image courtesy of Roadshow Films

Blockbusters To Watch Out For This Winter

Josip Knezevic 

America has entered blockbuster season, and that means some of the year’s biggest budget films will soon be hitting our cinemas. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, it’s likely you’ve heard something about these upcoming films. There’s some familiar franchises headed our way, as well as some fresh blood that may just upset the established order of things.

When you say “blockbuster” it’s hard not to immediately think of Transformers. Yes, for some reason, Michael Bay is continuing his nonsensical spout of robot violence… well, that reason is probably the $1 billion USD Transformers: Age of Extinction made at the box office, but I digress.

The latest entry, Transformers: The Last Knight, aims to shatter the franchise mythology established by its many predecessors. Humans and Transformers will be pitted against each other, with no Optimus Price around to act as a peacemaker. Fans of the series will no doubt flock to their local cinema to see this latest installment, and even I have to admit that there are some amazing special effects on display in the trailer. Here’s hoping the same can be said for the story… but it’s hard to even suggest that with a straight face.

This week we’ve seen Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales sail into cinemas. Filmed off the coast of Australia, we revisit our favourite “worst pirate”, Captain Jack Sparrow, now under threat from old nemesis (yes, another one) Captain Salazar (Javier Bardem). Captain Jack’s only hope lies in finding the Trident of Poseidon, which grants its possessor total control of the seas. Could this be the revival the series needs after the questionable On Stranger Tides? Perhaps if Jason Momoa was thrown in as a fill in for Poseidon we might be getting somewhere…

Speaking of Aquaman and comic book films, we have origin films Wonder Woman and Spider-man: Homecoming coming very soon. After getting a taste of these characters in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Captain America: Civil War respectively, it’s hard to anticipate which film will be more successful. Interest in both films has grown exponentially on the back of each trailer. Personally, I’m less concerned with yet another re-boot of the Spider-Man series, so I hope Wonder Woman takes the win at the box office, but we shall see.

And finally, we’ve got the return of The Mummy, only this time, our beloved Brendan Fraser isn’t here to reprise his role. Instead, we’ve got Tom Cruise. Perhaps I’m blinded by my affection for Fraser, but Cruise seems to be a questionable choice. Nevertheless, The Mummy promises to once again tackle an ancient spirit who has accidentally risen from the dead to wreak havoc.

So, there you have it. If these films don’t get your heart pumping, fear not! As we draw nearer to Christmas time, another influx of blockbusters will be hitting our screens. Films like Blade Runner 2049, Dunkirk, The Dark Tower, Justice League, Thor: Ragnarok and Star Wars: The Last Jedi will be coming to a screen near you!

 

Image courtesy of Roadshoew Films