A lot has happened since 1994 when Steven Spielberg’s blockbuster first hit screens and revolutionised cinema. Since the first entry in the franchise, Jurassic Park has tried to recreate the shock and awe of the moment the water ripples appear, and the T-Rex first escapes its enclosure. Eighteen years later, this has still not been achieved despite throwing everything into this latest series in the saga – Jurassic World Dominion.
After a five minute documentary-style introduction laden with exposition and a sweeping recount of characters that are recognisable (if not memorable), it takes this film some time to hit its strides. Dinosaurs are living with humans now – this is canon – and is a significant development to the story. The film does not focus on this however, and instead reaches deep into its nostalgic pockets for an adventurous tale, to an exotic location, to avoid more dinosaurs.
The nostalgia works. There is something pleasant about seeing Sam Neil and Laura Dern reunited on the silver screen – this is only elevated by the appearance of Jeff Goldblum who carries the film into (and throughout) its third act. Lewis Dodgson reprises his ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ role from the original film in a memorable manner, and BD Wong portrays his character, Henry Wu, with perhaps the most hear and depth in the franchise’s history.
This film is good fun, and entertaining with some great chase scenes and nostalgic moments. Don’t expect too much, don’t expect it to hold up against the original, and you will be pleasantly surprised.
Following up the 80s classic we all know (and some of us grew up with), is the exhilarating Top Gun: Maverick. Pete 'Maverick' Mitchell (Tom Cruise) has reluctantly returned to train Top Gun graduates after more than thirty years of service. Tasked with teaching the best and brightest graduates for a specialised mission, the recruits are assigned a specialised mission - the likes of which have never been faced before. In order to ensure a successful mission and the safety of his students, the loveable rapscallion and one of the Navy's top aviators must confront his past, overcome his fears and achieve the impossible.
Directed by Joseph Kosinski, Top Gun: Maverick is a callback film that blends the right amount of nostalgia, along with a glimpse into the future. The film is at heart, a love story - if the love interest were a squadron of F-18 fighter jets. The film manages to draw the audience into an exciting new storyline which relies heavily on the events of the past, but continues to excite from start to end. Things really kick into gear once the mission gets started, and the thrill seeking of pilots pushing the limits pairs incredibly with the amazing soundtrack - including the new track composed for the film, Hold My Hand by Lady Gaga.
Much alike its original, the film is so much more than just aviation; following the lives of each of the characters both personally and professionally. The all star cast is rounded out by some big names, including Tom Cruise, Miles Teller, Jennifer Connelly, Jon Hamm, and Danny Ramirez, along with Ed Harris and Val Kilmer. While some characters have important cameos, some more central to the plot than others, the most important relationship focuses around Maverick's encounter with Lt. Bradley 'Rooster' Bradshaw (Teller) - the son of Maverick's late friend Lt. Nick 'Goose' Bradshaw.
Top Gun: Maverick promises everything you'd expect in a Top Gun film, and both aims and soars past any expectations the audience might have from the original. Come for the nostalgia, stay for the air show.
Top Gun: Maverick hits cinemas on May 26.
Get your tickets now!
Nicolas Cage is back (not that he ever went anywhere) in the actor's latest film The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent. Directed by Tom Gormican and co-written with Kevin Etten, the film sees Nicolas Cage playing a fictionalised version of himself - so of course what ensues is some absolutely bonkers moments.
When Nicolas Cage finds himself feeling unfulfilled in his career, and on the brink of a financial crisis, he unenthusiastically takes an offer to appear at a super-fan’s birthday for $1 million. What he doesn’t account for is becoming involved in a CIA plot to take down a notorious gang member - who just so happens to be his host. Pushed to play his most difficult part yet, and draw upon all his acting experience, Cage fights to take down the man who threatens the safety of his family.
Nic Cage is as Nic Cage as you can get; leaning into his trademark acting method, ‘Nouveau Shamanic’, as much as he can - even going as far as referencing it by name several times. His penchant for his unhinged and manic moments are in full force, and make for some crazy scenes; especially when starring side by side with himself (a de-aged version going by the name Nicky Cage).
Playing the part of Cage’s super-fan Javi is Pedro Pascal - whose venture into comedy is seamless and a welcome change to his usual roles. The on-screen buddy relationship between Cage and Javi is a rollercoaster - flip-flopping between schemes and wholesome moments. Rounding out the cast is the hilarious Tiffany Haddish and Ike Barinholtz, who play Cage’s CIA handlers, and Neil Patrick Harris, who is Cage’s yes-man of an agent.
With a generous helping of meta moments, side-splitting jokes, and copious amounts of love for Paddington 2, The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent is an absolute experience from start to end - making it one of our favourite Nic Cage films to date. The film is out in cinemas now - so make sure you catch the national treasure at his best.
Robert Eggers' latest film The Northman sees the director's take on a viking epic; written by Eggers and Icelandic poet Sjón, and inspired by the legend of Amleth (which in turn borrowed elements from Shakespeare's Hamlet). Armed to the teeth with Eggers' trademark style, the film is a grisly tale of revenge and intertwining fates - with plenty of gratuitous gore and nerve-wracking moments.
When Amleth (Alexander Skarsgård) witnesses his father King Aurvandill's (Ethan Hawke) death at the hands of his traitorous uncle Fjölnir (Claes Bang), he vows to avenge his father's death, save his mother (Nicole Kidman), and kill his uncle. It is this vow to himself that he repeats as he escapes from the throes of his uncle and the danger he poses to him. Growing up years later as a berserker, he is reminded of this vow from the vision of a Seeress (Björk), causing the haunted Amleth to disguise himself as a slave and plot his revenge with the help of a captured Slav, Olga (Anya Taylor-Joy).
Skarsgård's hulking Amleth is a sight to behold; with the actor captivating the audience in every scene, and playing the troubled prince with such a harshness and hatefulness, that can be felt throughout the film. Taylor-Joy's Olga in comparison, is quite the opposite - the graceful, stoic sorceress who is the yin to his yang. Supporting actors Claes Bang, Nicole Kidman and Ethan Hawke are as brilliant as ever, and round out the strong leads along with the legendarg Willem Dafoe, who makes a memorable appearance, albeit a short one, as Heimir - King Aurvandill's close friend and seer.
The film wouldn't be a viking film without plenty of brutality and gore - and The Northman does not shy away from this. Featuring action scenes that border on outrageous at the best of times, the audience can't help but groan out loud during some choice raiding and fight scenes. The film balances itself out with its fair share of gut-wrenching moments (quite literally for some characters); throwing in some twists that'll keep you on your feet until the very end.
Incredible scenery, beautiful framing and an insane, ethereal soundtrack are the cherry on top for the film - as the director has played to his strong suits here. Moody, emotional and at times just plain absurd, The Northman has everything you'd hope for in a Robert Eggers film. Despite its handful of strange and uneasy moments, it sure is one of the most entertaining films we've seen in a long time. The Northman is in cinemas now - so book your tickets now and avoid renorse.
As the third entry in the Harry Potter spinoff saga, Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore takes off after the events of the previous film, and jumps right into the havoc caused by the wizard Grindelwald and his followers. Unluckily for him, Newt Scamander and a team assembled by Albus Dumbledore himself are hot on his trail, and determined to put an end to Grindelwald's plans.
The film has David Yates once again at the helm, with his distinct style shining through; rich with political undertones and social commentary. His rather serious tone carries across from his previous Fantastic Beasts films, as well as the last four films from the Harry Potter series - and it's this tone that gives the film a very different mood to the others, playing out more like a political thriller than anything. With scenes that feel right out of a heist film, with a bit of magic thrown in, The Secrets of Dumbledore is easily one of the stronger (if not strongest) entries in the Fantastic Beasts saga.
Returning to the series once again is Eddie Redmayne as the awkward Newt Scamander, Callum Turner as his brother Theseus, Jude Law as Albus Dumbledore, as well as Dan Fogler (Jacob) and Ezra Miller (Credence). Joining the cast is the brilliant Mads Mikkelsen, now playing the part of Grindelwald, Jessica Williams as Professor Hicks, and Richard Coyle as the mysterious Aberforth Dumbledore. The strained relationship between Dumbledore and Grindelwald is at the forefront of the film, and is a catalyst of sorts; diving into many details that JK Rowling teased in her previous series.Sharing plenty of touching scenes together, the on-screen chemistry between Law and Mikkelsen is palpable, and adds yet another tragic layer to the character we've all grown up watching over the years.
With well thought out pacing, enough twists and turns, and just the right number of new and fantastic beasts, The Secrets of Dumbledore gets the series back on track with an exciting new instalment. Given we're still a few films off from the conclusion to the Fantastic Beasts series, we're excited to see where the story goes next.
DreamWorks' latest animated film The Bad Guys is a crime-comedy based on the children's book series from homegrown Victorian author Aaron Blabey; featuring the world's most dangerous animal predators who have formed a notorious gang responsible for the biggest heists in town. Deciding to lean into the stereotype that society has placed upon them, Mr. Wolf (Sam Rockwell), Mr Piranaha (Anthony Ramos), Mr. Snake (Marc Maron), Mr. Shark (Craig Robinson) and Ms. Tarantula (Awkwafina) plan to pull off their biggest heist to date - only things don't exactly go to plan.
Directed by Pierre Perifel in his feature directorial debut, The Bad Guys tells the story of the gang who are forced to fool the world that they're turning good. Reforming as model citizens in the hopes of successfully finishing their heist to steal the prized Golden Dolphin from its rightful recipient, guinea pig philanthropist Professor Rupert Marmalade IV (Richard Ayoade), the gang humorously discovers what being good feels like. Kept under close watch throughout the film, the Governor Diane Foxington (Zazie Beetz) holds out hope that the gang can change, while the hilarious and fiery police chief Misty Luggins (Alex Borstein) dedicates her life to locking them away for good.
The film's animation style is one of its main highlights, taking the characters straight from the pages of Blabey's books, and bringing them to life on the big screen. Action sequences are as packed as any live-action movie; with car chases and heist scenes that will have you on the edge of your seat. At times the film is almost comic-book-like (not that we're complaining), and plays to its strengths that made the books so popular. Throw in the amazing voice talents of the cast, a few extra jokes for the adults, and DreamWorks have created yet another film that's sure to become a classic with audiences.
What begins as a film about a notorious gang consisting of a smooth-talking thief of a wolf, a fidgety piranha, a sarcastic snake, a chameleon of a great white shark, and a tech-expert tarantula - transforms into a film that shows the journey of a close group of friends becoming the animals they always hoped to be. This feel-good animation will steal your heart, and have you laughing from start to finish - keeping all ages throughly entertained with something for everyone.
The Bad Guys is in cinemas from March 31 2022.
Coming to theatres as quickly as the world's favourite blue hedgehog himself, is Sonic the Hedgehog 2; director Jeff Fowler's sequel to his 2020 film. As easily one of Sega's biggest game series, Sonic brings plenty of action-packed nostalgia to the big screen, for old and new fans alike. Picking up after the first film's events, the sequel sees the return of its main characters, joined by some new, yet familiar faces.
After being trapped on the Mushroom Planet, Dr Robotnik has been plotting his return to Earth and his revenge against Sonic. When he encounters the hostile and beefy echidna Knuckles, the two realise they share the mutual goal of tracking down Sonic, leading to the two baddies teaming up. Unluckily for Sonic, their attempt at taking him down just so happens to be when his family are out of town. Saved by Tales the fox, Sonic and his new friend race against Knuckles and Dr Robotnik to search for the legendary Master Emerald; a gem that grants its owner enough power to control the universe.
Ben Schwartz returns as the voice of Sonic, along with James Marsden and Tika Sumpter as his adoptive parents Tom and Maddie, and Jim Carrey who is back and balder than ever as Dr Robotnik. Joining the sequel's cast is Colleen O'Shaughnessey reprising her role from recent Sonic games as the voice of Tails, as well as Idris Elba as the tenacious Knuckles. Schwartz's Sonic is sarcastic and headstrong; wanting to take on a hero's role, while unintentionally putting many in harm's way in the process. Voiced with plenty of heart (with a Parks and Rec reference thrown in), Sonic goes through some massive character development in the sequel, as he learns what it means to take on the responsibilities of others. In comparison, Knuckles is everything Sonic is not; serious, aggressive, and gullible at the worst of times - and Elba plays his part perfectly. Carrey, as always, plays the unstable villain so well and so ridiculously, that the character is really just an extension of himself.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 isn't necessarily the best video-game adaptation, but its heavy lean into fan-service territory sure does make it a hell of fun film. Filled with plenty of laughs, flashy CGI, heartwarming moments, and a few teasers for the next instalment, Sonic is an escape for all ages. So whether you grew up dashing along the slopes of Green Hill on the old Sega Genesis, or you or your kids are still playing the game today - race into cinemas from 31 March to catch the flick.
Easily one of our favourite comedies of the year, was The Lost City; an action-packed, laugh-filled romp, which plays on genre tropes like there's no tomorrow. Directed by Aaron and Adam Nee, who co-wrote the film with Oren Uziel and Dana Fox (What Happens in Vegas), which was based on a story from Seth Gordon (Horrible Bosses), The Lost City had us crying with laughter at the premiere. With a killer leading cast including Sandra Bullock, Channing Tatum, Daniel Radcliffe, and even a cameo by Brad Pitt, this was a popcorn flick we'd happily watch over and over again.
Loretta Sage (Bullock) is a widowed romance novel author, who is 110% done with her smutty series that she has grown to dislike. Regardless of her books having a massive following, it is her cover model Alan 'Dash' (Tatum) that gets all the attention from her fans. The cynical Loretta is nothing like the himbo Alan, who she finds unbearable, despite his seemingly unrequited love for her. When Loretta is kidnapped by billionaire Abigail Fairfax (Radcliffe), who believes her latest book is the key to locating an undiscovered treasure, Alan takes it upon himself to save his damsel in distress. Enlisting the help of his meditation buddy Jack (Pitt), what ensues is plenty of adventures and mishaps through the unforgiving jungle; causing the reserved Loretta to live out something straight out of one of her books.
This film really did allow Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum to lean into their comedic talents - our only complaint being that we wish there was more comedies with this duo involved. The two play off each other so well, with an undeniable chemistry that lends itself to plenty of full belly laughs, with a few warming moments thrown in. Daniel Radcliffe takes his villain role and runs with it, giving us a spoilt brat who doesn't know when to quit; it's a role that we haven't quite seen him in before, yet his humorous takes as of late (Miracle Workers) have made us see him in new light. Rounding off the cast is Brad Pitt's Jack Trainer, an ex-special forces ball of muscle; Da'Vine Joy Randolph as Loretta's relentless publisher Beth; and Oscar Nuñez as a crazy cargo plane pilot.
While it may be predictable and full of plenty of cliches, The Lost City knows what kind of film it is, and completely goes with it. With mountains of laugh out loud moments, strong one-liners, and goofy escapades, this is a film we're already looking forward to rewatching. The Lost City is coming to cinemas April 14 - so make sure you find your way to your nearest screening.
Screening as part of the Jewish International Film Festival, is Billy Crystal's latest dramedy Here Today, which follows the unlikely relationship between comedy writer Charlie Burnz and street musician Emma Payge, and the burden the unlikely friends take on together. Directed, produced by Crystal, and co-written with Alan Zweibel, Here Today is a touching story, filled to the brim with zesty one-liners, heartbreaking moments, and plenty of soul.
Veteran comedy writer Charlie Burnz is a man of habit and routine; rarely deviating from his daily life, and seemingly going with the flow. But Charlie has a secret that he has hidden from his friends and family - the fact that he is in the early stages of dementia. It isn't until he meets the enigmatic Emma at a lunch date (that her ex-boyfriend won in an auction), that Charlie finds his life turned upside down, as he learns to face the reality of the struggles that lie ahead. Battling against time as his dementia gets worse, and dealing with the strained relationships with his children, Charlie quickly learns that he doesn't have to go through life alone - especially with his new found friendship with Emma.
In an on-screen pairing we never thought we'd see, Billy Crystal and Tiffany Haddish's characters couldn't be further apart. In his true self-deprecating fashion, Crystal gives us a fast-talking, snarky one-liner-delivering character we've seen before - only this time, there's plenty of scenes when he's delivering gut-wrenching and heartfelt moments. The loveable Emma, a bold personality who commands any room or party she enters, is unapologetically herself, and living her life to the fullest. When she finds herself connected to this kind old man, they fuel a spark in each others lives as the form the truest sense of friendship. Putting these two characters together, there's no shortage of moments that don't leave you with the warm fuzzies.
Here Today is more than just a comedy, touching on what it means to live a life. You'll laugh, you'll cry, and you'll laugh some more. What we do know leaving the cinema is that it's a film we won't soon forget.
Unrequited love and a tragic love triangle are centre stage in Cyrano; director Joe Wright's (Pride & Prejudice, Atonement) latest film. Adapted from Erica Schmidt's 2018 stage musical, which itself is based off Edmond Rostand's 1897 play Cyrano de Bergerac, the musical drama follows the titular character, and his never-ending love for his childhood friend, Roxanne.
For years, the proud and romantic Cyrano (Peter Dinklage) has pined for his close friend Roxanne (Haley Bennett), who is unaware of his feelings for her. While he is a skilled and poetic writer, Cyrano is looked down upon by society for being different, and believes that he cannot be with Roxanne. When on the brink of confessing his love to her, Roxanne drops a confession on him; she is in love with another man, who she only knows the name of - Christian de Neuvillette (Kelvin Harrison Jr.). When pleading with Cyrano to look after the new recruit in his battlement, a promise is made between the two friends, which will involve the two lovers writing to each other. Upon Cyrano meeting Christian, the two realise that they have a problem - Christian is unlucky in love, and inarticulate - something that Cyrano knows Roxanne will be put off by. What ensues is the start of a friendship, and a secret shared between the two men which involves Cyrano writing all of Christian's love letters to Roxanne, which she comes to memorise by heart.
As Cyrano's love letters continue, and Roxanne falls deeper in love with Christian, their secret threatens to spiral out of control. Tension is pushed further by Ben Mendelsohn, who stars as the powerful and villainous De Guiche, whose plans to marry the hesitant Roxanne put a strain on her relationships with the two men. Mendelsohn plays the calculating duke with a chilling calmness, which is rattled constantly by Dinklage's witty and charismatic portrayal of Cyrano. Dinklage easily commands the film with his leading role; his charm and quick fire delivery creating many memorable moments throughout the film.
The film itself is cinematically beautiful; from the jaw-dropping costumes, to the lighting and staging reminiscent of the film's theatre origins. Wright's framing is visibly paying homage to Schmidt's stage show, which gives the film quite a theatrical, over-the-top feel. Playing to the strengths of their filming locations in Italy, the village the film takes place in is filled with whimsical architecture, and plenty of cinematic townscapes that lend themselves to theatrical entrances. With music scored by members of The National (Aaron and Bryce Dessner, Matt Berninger) and Carin Besser, the film's musical numbers, at times, aren't typical of the genre. While some numbers can be jarring at times, there are incredibly haunting songs, such as Overcome, I Need More and Wherever I Fall, which are perfectly accompanied by dazzling choreography that drives home each lyric.
Wright is no stranger to period-pieces, and Cyrano is just another testament to his finesse at creating them. The real heart of the film though, is Peter Dinklage and his soulful portrayal of the heartbroken Cyrano de Bergerac; which cements him as an incredibly underrated actor, and one that has more than earned his place as a leading man. Cyrano is out in cinemas now, so theatre fans and hopeless romantics unite - this one is for you.
Marry Me is the rom-com that we’ve been most excited for lately. With Jennifer Lopez and Owen Wilson starring at the romantic leads, we knew from the get go that we’d be in for a whirlwind adventure, filled with plenty of touching and hilarious moments. Supported by an equally talented cast, including Colombian crooner Maluma, GOT’s John Bradley-West, and the hysterical Sarah Silverman, Marry Me shapes up to be more than just your standard chick flick.
Directed by Kat Coiro (Dead To Me, Girls5eva) and based on the graphic novel by Bobby Crosby, the film kicks off with power couple and musical sensations Kat Valdez (Lopez) and Bastian (Maluma), who are holding the wedding event of the century. After learning that her ’soul-mate’ has been having an affair with her assistant, the pop star chooses to throw caution to the wind and marries a stranger in the crowd. This so happens to be Charlie Gilbert (Wilson), who by absolute chance is holding a ‘Marry Me’ sign up at her concert.
Marry Me takes you on a journey into the lives of a pop-star celebrity getting to know the average guy who’s living an average life. Charlie is seemingly the yin to Kat’s yang; he’s a divorced, single-dad working as a teacher and running a math club. The film’s social commentary on the differences and double standards between male and female celebrities and the surmounting pressures that come with being in the spotlight ring true to reality, as the fallout of Kat’s meltdown is shown through the eyes of different media icons.
The original soundtrack, created for the film by Jennifer Lopez and Maluma, is easily one of the film’s strongest aspects, and is incredibly well written. While they consider it to be more of a ‘Kat and Bastian’ album rather than from the artists themselves, there are tracks that will stay with you for days. Our personal favourites included Marry Me, Love of My Life, After Love, and On My Way. If you are like us, you will have the soundtrack blasting through the speakers on the car ride home, and at least a few days thereafter.
Marry Me goes beyond your standard rom-com and brings so much more to the audience than one could have hoped. This film is something truly special and was a refreshing take on the genre. Either way, it’s JLo and Owen Wilson - what more could you want in a film? Marry Me is screening now - so grab your tickets, grab your popcorn, and sit tight for a warm fuzzy, feel good film.