To launch their new Dark Universe franchise, Universal has taken an approach that mixes murky visuals with exaggerated action. It's certainly nothing like the involving classic monster movies they're trying to reignite, such as the 1932 Boris Karloff classic The Mummy. But this movie has more in common with Tom Cruise's Mission: Impossible and Jack Reacher blockbusters, with added swimming zombies.
Cruise plays Nick, an American army officer and mercenary who with his cohort Vail (Jake Johnson) has just located a long-lost burial site deep in Daesh-controlled Iraq. Somehow, the hot archaeologist Jenny (Annabelle Wallis) arrives immediately to stop him from plundering this tomb. It turns out that the sarcophagus contains the remains of ancient Egyptian Princess Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella), who was mummified alive for making a pact with the evil god Set and then murdering her father and brother. Now transported to London, she returns to life with a vengeance, casting a spell on Nick to help reassemble Set's dagger and finish her nefarious plan. So Jenny turns to her deeply unstable boss Henry Jekyll (Russell Crowe) for help.
There's rather a lot of mythology building going on here, setting things up for the further adventures of Jekyll's secret society, which is trying to deal with ancient evil like a mash-up of Men in Black and Night at the Museum. Without the humour. There are some throwaway gags here and there, but director Alex Kurtzman stages everything with a gloomy sense of foreboding that simply never gains traction. The thin plot seems constructed merely to connect a series of enormous action set-pieces, which are all very well choreographed but never remotely exciting. It doesn't help that everything on-screen has been extravagantly over-designed, with cavernous sets that have been made deliberately dark and sooty. But this leaves the entire movie feeling artificial, random mayhem in fake places.
Continue reading: The Mummy Review
Arthur grew up as a peasant on the streets of Londonium having escaped the terror that was unleashed upon his father Uther Pendragon's kingdom when he was just a boy. But despite growing up away from his royal roots, there was always something special about him; a determination and a willingness to stand up and fight no matter how big the enemy or how slim the chances of survival. This does not go unnoticed by the current King Vortigern, who took over the throne all those years ago. Arthur is captured and imprisoned by Vortigern's men and it's then he learns of his true destiny. And that destiny is sealed when he manages to pull the sword of Excalibur from the legendary stone with the world watching. Vortigern will stop at nothing to keep his ill-gotten crown, but still he underestimates the power that the sword wields. Using his newfound power, he joins with the kingdom's resistance to regain what's rightfully his and avenge his father along the way.
Continue: King Arthur - Trailer and Clips
Arthur might have an extraordinary destiny, but after his birthright was taken from him at a young age, he has grown up an agent of the streets of Londonium and now the idea that he has royal blood is almost laughable. That is until he manages to unsheath the mighty sword of Excalibur from a stone; a feat that can only be achieved be he who is worthy of the throne. This forces him to make a choice, he can ignore the destiny that is pressing in around him or he can seize it once and for all. He joins the kingdom's resistance and it's there he meets the beautiful Guinevere who encourages him to learn of the power that he wields and defeat the tyrannous Vortigern, avenging his parents and ending his rule for good.
Continue: King Arthur Legend of the Sword Trailer
For the most part, Arthur has taught himself all the life lessons he knows, he lives a rough life with his friends in the town, fighting comes as standard for the young man, however Arthur's life is about to change for better and worse. When Arthur is challenged to pull the famous sword from the stone he achieves something that all men before him have failed to do, he retrieves the sword.
Arthur's life story becomes a little clearer, Arthur is the son of Uther Pendragon a noble king loved by his people but when he dies his crown and seat on the throne are stolen by Vortigern who will go to any lengths to secure his future as leader of the kingdom. Since the death of Pendragon, the whole country has slowly fallen into chaos - particularly the capital, Londinium. Vortigern rules with an iron fist and his willingness to use dark magic cause more and more problems.
As Arthur learns about his past, he unites with a group of rebels but the new owner of Excalibur is far from enthusiastic at fighting Vortigern's army. As time passes Arthur realises that he must be the one to restore some peace to the city but with Vortigern leading his troops it's not going to be an easy battle.
Continue: King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Trailer
Harvey Miller had only just got out of prison having spent 12 months inside. Once reunited with his best pals Dempsey, Dodd and Charlie, he became hellbent on revenge, determined to get back at the man who put him inside in the first place: Steven Roper. After a 'business proposition' was made to him by a fellow prisoner, Harvey sets about planning the ultimate heist - a job that could bring them over £100,000, and not only that, he's willing to do anything to bring Roper down. Unfortunately, his plans go awry when he is subsequently arrested with a handful of eye-witnesses naming him as a criminal. Detective Inspector West, baffled at how the boys could've got a robbery so desperately wrong, hands over the opportunity to tell the truth from his point of view.
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With 26 short segments, it's expected that this horror anthology will be hit and miss. But the experiment is an intriguing one, as the producers gave 26 filmmakers a letter of the alphabet and complete artistic freedom. The result is a mix of clever invention, pointless silliness, head-scratching indulgence and blatant misfires. Oddly, while all of them indeed deal with death, only a couple are actually creepy.
From Nacho Vigalondo's Apocalypse to Yoshihiro Nishimura's Zetsumetsu, these films are packed with black humour and grisly violence. Some are produced to a very high standard, while others look like cheesy school projects. Highlights include the mind-bendingly clever Cycle (by Chile's Ernesto Diaz Espinoza), about a guy caught in a freaky time-loop, and XXL (from France's Xavier Gens), a rather revolting commentary on super-thin models. Other viciously inventive clips include Marcel Sarmiento Dogfight, set in a deranged fight club underworld, Jorge Michel Grau's Psycho-inspired Ingrown and Ben Wheatley's Unearthed, which offers a frenetic new perspective on the vampire genre. All of these add some social relevance to their brief scenes of nastiness.
Most shorts weave comedy into the grisliness, such as the Thai short Nuptials (by Banjong Pisathanakun), which takes an amusingly awful turn. Others are more gimmicky: Exterminate (by Angela Bettis) is a witty attempt to kill a spider, while the very brief Miscarriage (by Ti West) ends on a particularly yucky gag. And some are just wrong in every way: Libido (by Indonesia's Timo Tjahjanto) is the most repulsive game show you've ever seen; Hydro-Electric Diffusion (by Norway's Thomas Cappelen Malling) features a Nazi cat tormenting an Allied dog; and Fart (by Japan's Noburu Iguchi) is an indescribably outrageous tale of apocalyptic survival.
Continue reading: The ABCs Of Death Review
This film may look sleek and urgent, but it never feels like anything more than a run-of-the-mill London drugs thriller. The cast is good, and the imagery is striking, but it never adds anything new to the genre. And it certainly doesn't have the bracing impact of the original 1996 film, which introduced the world to Nicolas Winding Refn (Drive).
It centres on the young drug dealer Frank (Coyle), who with his friend Tony (Webb) is trying to bring a huge stash of drugs from Amsterdam to London. The cops are brutally trying to force Frank into turning in evidence against his supplier Milo (Buric), which puts him in a very bad position. With Milo's henchman (Ferda) breathing down his neck, Frank tries to call in his debts and raise enough cash so he and his stripper girlfriend Flo (Deyn) can get away. But all of his plans seem to go awry, which strains his relationship with Flo because he doesn't want to tell her the truth.
This is one of those movies in which events squeeze in on the central character from every side, forcing him to increasingly desperate actions. And Spanish director Prieto has a lurid visual style that jolts the screen with energy, even if it leaves everything feeling rather superficial. Coyle finds Frank's intriguing edges, playing him as a cocky nice guy whose confidence is beaten out of him. As he becomes a shell of himself, we have quite a bit of sympathy with him. So it's a shame that we never really feel much chemistry between Frank and Flo.
Continue reading: Pusher Review
Ray Collishaw and Mickey Mannock are two highly respected gangster cousins approaching retirement. Their visions of a relaxing retreat to a straight life are ruined when their gang loses a massive overseas delivery of the Russian Mafia's cocaine during a storm. Chased by enraged Russians and a vengeful police detective, the mob races across the continent through London, Amsterdam and Berlin in a bid to find a way to pay the Mafia back. Ray and Mickey hatch a devious robbery plan disguised as football hooligans for the upcoming England Vs. Germany match; they are about to embark on a diamond heist that could either define or terminate their criminal careers - and with a double agent among them, who knows which way it could go?
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Introverted but polite young man Joe is overcome with grief after beloved brother John is murdered by a violent gang following a heated disagreement in the local pub. The bereavement incites the arrival of one of John's old friends, Piggy, at his brother's doorstep.
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Bill, known to his friends as Wild Bill, has just been imprisoned for eight years for drug dealing. Now out on parole, he returns to his flat in a tower block in East London to find his two sons, Dean and Jimmy, living alone. Their mother abandoned them a while ago, so the respective fifteen and eleven year olds have been fending for themselves.
Continue: Wild Bill Trailer
To launch their new Dark Universe franchise, Universal has taken an approach that mixes murky...
Arthur grew up as a peasant on the streets of Londonium having escaped the terror...
Arthur might have an extraordinary destiny, but after his birthright was taken from him at...
For the most part, Arthur has taught himself all the life lessons he knows, he...