Using remarkably photorealistic animation, this remake of the 1967 Disney classic is warm and enjoyable, with a few moments of suspense for the kids in the audience. Loosely based on Rudyard Kipling's stories, it's a lively tale packed with memorable characters. But it feels relentlessly tamed for a family audience.
Stranded in the jungle as a baby, Mowgli (Neel Sethi) was rescued by the panther Bagheera (voiced by Ben Kingsley) and raised by a pair of wolves (Lupita Nyong'o and Giancarlo Esposito). But the presence of a human in the jungle is unacceptable to tiger Shere Khan (Idris Elba), who was injured by a man and now wants Mowgli's blood. While fleeing to the human world, Mowgli has a fateful encounter with the seductive python Kaa (Scarlett Johansson). He's rescued by the bear Baloo (Bill Murray), with whom he has a series of adventures, including being kidnapped by a gang of monkeys led by King Louie (Christopher Walken). But Shere Khan is still searching for him, and Mowgli can't hide forever.
Filmmaker Jon Favreau (Iron Man) keeps the story skimming along the surface, avoiding the darker themes woven into the premise. So instead of exploring the meaning of humanity or mankind's relationship with nature, the film is a breezy adventure romp with the usual action movie beats and some surprisingly nasty violence. And it looks utterly amazing, especially since the credits note that it was filmed completely in downtown Los Angeles.
Continue reading: The Jungle Book Review
Giancarlo Esposito - World premiere of Walt Disney's 'The Jungle Book' held at El Capitan Theatre - Arrivals at El Capitan Theatre, Disney - Hollywood, California, United States - Monday 4th April 2016
Mowgli is a human boy known as a man-cub to his peers, among which are an array of jungle beasts. Left in the jungle as a baby, he was taken in by a family of wolves who raised him as their own. However, the older he grows, the more of a threat he becomes to a formidable villain named Shere Khan; a Bengal tiger with a deep fear of fire and loathing of man. Led by an impatient black panther named Bagheera, he is sent away from his jungle home to the safety of a nearby man village, though the journey becomes less straight-forward the further they stray. Mowgli befriends a fun-loving bear named Baloo, but finds Khan is not the only jungle menace as he is set upon by a gang of monkeys led by the orangutan King Louie, and hypnotised by a vicious snake named Kaa.
Continue: The Jungle Book - First Look Trailer
After the rather lacklustre teen-dystopia adventure The Maze Runner, the action continues in this equally gimmicky sequel. It's the middle episode in novelist James Dashner's trilogy, so it lacks a proper narrative structure, building through a series of action sequences that put our heroes into jeopardy. But the film never develops any suspense because writer T.S. Nowlin and director Wes Ball never bother to properly develop the characters or find an original approach to the action.
After escaping from the Maze, Thomas (Dylan O'Brien) and his friends (including Kaya Scodelario, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Ki Hong Lee and Dexter Darden) find themselves in the Scorch, a wasteland created by some sort of environmental catastrophe. They're rescued by Janson (Aidan Gillen) and taken into a sort of halfway house for lost teens, where Thomas meets Aris (Jacob Lofland), a loner who knows something nefarious is going on. Sure enough, the monolithic corporation WCKD, run by Ava (Patricia Clarkson), is using these kids because they are immune to the disease that's turning people into Cranks who maraud across the landscape. To avoid this fate, Thomas and crew plot an escape, fleeing into a devastated city, where they meet Jorge (Giancarlo Esposito) and feisty teen Brenda (Rosa Salazar). Pursued by WCKD, they travel on into the mountains in search of a safe haven.
Yes, this has essentially become a zombie thriller now, as the Cranks chase the kids even more relentlessly than Janson and WCKD do. The problem is that everything about this film feels familiar, from crowds of The Walking Dead to The Day After Tomorrow's abandoned shopping mall to Transformers 3's tilting skyscraper. As with the first film, the dialogue overflows with corny mythology in which everything given an ominous, cool-sounding name. It's all so constructed that it sounds utterly artificial. And the derivative action sequences are directed without even a hint of realism.
Continue reading: The Scorch Trials Review
Having overcome a series of deadly encounters in the box-office smash The Maze Runner, this much-anticipated second chapter in the dystopian young-adult series finds Thomas and his fellow Gladers facing their greatest challenge yet, as they search for clues about the sinister organisation known as WCKD. Their mission takes them to a desolate landscape called the Scorch, where they face new dangers at every turn. Teaming up with resistance fighters, they must take on WCKD's powerful forces in an attempt to uncover the organisation's shocking plans for these young heroes.
Continue: Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials Trailer
Following their supposed escape from the monster infested maze, the surviving Gladers led by Thomas are taken to an underground facility in the wake of a devastating solar flare known as The Scorch that has left the vast majority of the population infected with a disease called the Flare, but little do they know they are about to enter Phase Two. Soon they begin to realise that they're still part of WCKD's dastardly experiment and they must find a way to escape once and for all or risk more of them dying untimely deaths. They are warned about the dangers of entering the barren wasteland that has become the rest of the world, but they have no choice if they want freedom. Cities have been overtaken by sand dunes, but they soon about to discover yet more unfathomable horrors that lie before them.
This dark thriller is so relentlessly stylish that it's distracting. Refusing to settle down to focus on its intriguing central story, filmmaker Greg Francis whirls around through a series of whizzy flashbacks that layer in all kinds of subtext and interest. But it's so fragmented that the film never quite builds any suspense, instead becoming a grotesque horror movie featuring a slasher who tortures and kills with Saw-like maniacal glee.
It centres on young rookie Detective Jeter (Beau Mirchoff), whose recent bust has elevated him to the ranks of the elite cops (Ron Perlman, Titus Welliver, Giancarlo Esposito, Ron Eldard and Corey Large) who meet for a weekly poker game. At his first night with them, each recounts his most iconic case, and afterwards Jeter staggers out a bit tipsy, running into his underaged girlfriend Amy (Halston Sage) who is being menaced by a man (Michael Eklund) in a terrifying mask. Next thing Jeter knows, he's drugged, tied up and being held by this self-proclaimed paedophile who clearly has some sort of agenda here. Jeter can hear Amy in the next room, but every time he tries to escape their captor seems to be one step ahead of him.
All of this plays out of sequence, constantly interrupted by the other five cops' stories and even the masked man's own past, all played out in with flashy visuals and a clever integration of Jeter into past events as he watches them unfold. Sometimes the film also goes into his mind as he plays out a scene hypothetically. All of these fragments weave into the central story in some way, but filmmaker Francis never quite brings it into any sense of focus. It's so hyperactive that all the audience can do is sit back and enjoy the inventive visuals and up-for-it cast, while being horrified and/or entertained by the brutal violence.
Continue reading: Poker Night Review
An in-depth look at who could star in season 2 of HBO's intense crime drama 'True Detective'.
Nic Pizzolatto put the sincerity and quality of True Detective’s story over multiple seasons of the show, asserting that a strict 8-episode format would be condusive to a strong third act. And judging by the critical claim he’s received – his creation is being talked about in the same breath as The Wire – one is inclined to trust the man who risked everything to write the new HBO anthology series.
Woody Harrelson [L] and Matthew McConuaghey [R] as Hart and Cohle in 'True Detective'
“One of the reasons I wanted to do an anthology format is I like stories with endings. I like a good third act. And continuing serial dramas, they tend to have really good beginnings and really long middles and then sort of have to hustle to develop an ending. And I like the idea of telling a self-contained story,” explained Pizzolatto.
Continue reading: True Detective Season 2: Which Pairing Can Pick Up From Cohle And Hart?
Activision have pulled out all the stops for the new trailer for Destiny
The makers of the new multi-platform videogame Destiny have pulled out all the stops for the trailer for the upcoming title. Activision's latest effort have enlisted the help of Jon Favreau and Breaking Bad's Giancarlo Esposito for the epic teaser, which went online on Thursday (May 23).
The live-action trailer was directed by Iron Man director Favreau and prominently features Gustav Fring himself Esposito. The trailer follows the same kind of storyline used in the game, which is set in a futuristic world where players take the role of Guardians of the last stronghold in post-apocalyptic Earth. The trailer aims the introduce would-be players to the concept of the game, which Activision CEO Eric Hirshberg described as “as a grand fable for the ages.”
And though Artisan is issuing a two-disc DVD release of the film, don't expect it to find much more of a cult audience 14 years after its original release.
Continue reading: King Of New York Review
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