Cinderella

Director Kenneth Branagh Starring Cate Blanchett, Lily James, Richard Madden, Stellan Skarsgȧrd, Holliday Grainger, Derek Jacobi, Sophie McShera, Ben Chaplin, Hayley Atwell, Nonso Anozie, Helena Bonham Carter Release Date March 13th, 2015

After the recent success of other live-action Disney films, the film production company have decided to put new focus into re-imagining some all-time Disney classics, starting here.

Cinderella was a young girl with a loving family but has since had that taken away from her. Now she’s living a terrible existence with Cate Blanchett and only a life lesson of courage and kindness to guide her. Then an abridged film pretty much plays out, with exposition from supporting characters behind scenes of Cinderella labouring, attempting escape, having her hopes and dreams smashed, having them pieced back together by Helena Bonham Carter, and her eventual triumph and a inevitable happily ever after, all with a magical musical piece playing throughout.

It’s the latest version of the fairy tale, which and looks to be another home run from Disney, adding some new material and focusing on some of the finer plot points that have previously been overlooked (such as her horrible life and interactions with the prince before and after the ball) so that you’ll have a reason to go see it. Unfortunately though here it all is in the trailer. You’re invested because you want to see this new interpretation, but now that they’ve given that all away there’s nothing to suck you in.  4 of 10

Focus

Director Glenn Ficarra, John Requa Starring Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Rodrigo Santoro Release Date February 27th, 2015

Directors Glenn Ficarra and John Requa have teamed up, under the guidance of sleight-of-hand artist Apollo Robbins for this crime heist film.

It starts with a bang, or more a crash. Backtrack, and Will Smith is a very suave and self-assured member of a con-man racket who introduces the naïve but talented Margot Robbie into his world. He slowly teaches her the ins and outs as she becomes better and better, all the while being sucked into the decadence of her new existence. As she becomes involved they both becomes more daring until they’ve bitten off more than they can chew, and as the stakes rise Will’s cool demeanour begins to crack. He goes from fine suits, sunglasses and sunshine to totalled cars, torn shirts and bloody messes, all the while becoming more and more daring out of desperation.

He struggles to stop Margot from diving head-first into the deep end, making room for heart in the game where there was no room before, though by the end it may be futile. You’re either a hammer or a nail, and Will is intent on not becoming a nail at all costs.

It’s good, but unfortunately it gives away too much plot. From here you can pretty much fill in the holes yourself and ballpark a fair idea of what this movie will be like. Having said that it does look like good and I’ll add it to the list, I just wish I could go into it with a little more mystery involved. 5 of 10

Jurassic World

Director Colin Trevorrow Starring Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Vincent D’Onofrio, Jake Johnson, Nick Robinson, Ty Simpkins, BD Wong, Judy Greer, Irrfan Khan Release Date June 12th, 2015

The greatest theme park with the worst safety record in the world is back. Have they learnt from their past mistakes? You’d better hope not.

It looks like the original 1993 classic is somewhat of a template for this highly anticipated film. Two kids are unknowingly about to be dropped into one hell of a meat-grinder, with their mother’s jovial advice a forewarning of what’s to come. There’s a moment of suspense as the cruise ship approaches the futuristic world of Isla Nebula, then those famous gates open and it’s simply awe-inspiring sights of these majestic creatures wandering the plains. Meanwhile everybody is thinking ‘what could possibly go wrong…’

Then we learn of the hybrid, the tone changes and we see Chris Pratt, who knows exactly what could go wrong. That piano starts playing, all the wonder is replaced by fear and the sunshine turns to rain as this becomes something of a horror movie trailer. People happily being drenched in water during a daily show are now running for their lives from a new, unseen foe and it’s up to Chris Pratt on a motorbike with his fighting team of velociraptor’s to save the day.

The build-up for this has been amazing considering that it’s the fourth film in the series, though it has been a long time since our last visit to the park. It plays on familiarity as it’s the same park, same gates, same dinosaurs, even the same font, but now we’ve got something unknown in this hybrid to look forward to. There’s also no mention of the infamous T-Rex yet, but we’ll just have to wait and see. I like this trailer, though again it does tend to reveal a little too much plot for my liking. 6 of 10

The Peanuts Movie

Director Steve Martino Starring Bill Melendez, more to be announced Release Date November 6th, 2015

Under guidance from Schulz family members Bryan & Craig, and to commemorate the sixty-fifth anniversary of the classic Peanuts comic strip Charlie Brown is coming to the big screen. It’s a long time between drinks for the legendary kids, this being the first feature-length Peanuts film in thirty-five years.

We’ve got Snoopy taking off on one of his trademark fantasy adventures, donning his classic aviator headgear for a flight above Paris, and Charlie Brown struggling to get to his seat in a crowded movie theatre, earning the mockery of those around him. It looks like the film will retain everything classic about Peanuts, from characters to locations to the classic jazzy piano, and they’re right to go the Christmas route as the franchise is probably most famous for the classic holiday special that aired in 1965.

Details are scarce as the film is still almost a year away, but from what we’ve got so far it looks like it could be a winner as it’s got the look a feel about it that makes Peanuts so quintessential. The animation looks so distinct, I’ve not seen anything like it. There’s not one plot detail, but I would prefer that over them giving away too much. This could very well be a new beginning for the Peanuts franchise. 7 of 10

Strange Magic

Director Gary Rydstrom Starring Alan Cumming, Evan Rachel Wood, Kristin Chenoworth, Maya Rudolph, Sam Palladio, Alfred Molina, Elijah Kelley, Bob Einstein, Peter Stormare, Meredith Anne Bull Release Date January 23rd, 2015

Director Gary Rydstrom, who actually worked on the original Jurassic Park, is backed by George Lucas and Lucas Films for this children’s CGI-heavy fantasy musical, because we needed another one.

This is your standard, run-of-the-mill film trailer here folks. Everything about this looks generic and it’s a fairly stock for the genre. It starts of serious enough, but then it’s silly music, a gag from a character, text, wipe to another gag from another character, characters singing, repeat, then a scene of exposition, and more gags from characters. Don’t forget the stereotypical black character too, and the ugly, mindless, hopeless minions that follow the every command of the arrogant and unknowingly inept villain, as this has never been seen in film before.

The effects look wonderful, it’s colourful and vibrant, and the score sounds nice, but the songs, characters and plot sound fairly stock. This could be a really good movie but the trailer actually makes it look bad. 3 of 10

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