Liam Neeson will use a snowplow to fight a murderous vegan and more in Hard Powder

I’ve mentioned it before, but ever since Liam Neeson was reinvented as a craggy action hero in 2008’s Taken, he’s consummately become a genre unto himself. Now when somebody tells you that “there’s a new Liam Neeson movie,” you know exactly what they’re referring to. And the next entry in this Liam Neeson genre, is probably the most Liam Neeson-iest of them all.

Variety broke the news of Neeson signing on to star in Hard Powder, a new action thriller for Studiocanal that will be directed Norwegian filmmaker Hans Peter Molland and penned by Frank Baldwin. Chances are that unless you follow local movie releases in Norway, you’ve probably never heard of these names. But that’s not why Hard Powder caught my eye though. No, instead… Well, actually I’m just going to copy and paste Variety’s description verbatim, in case you think I was being prone to absurd hyperbole:

It stars Neeson as Nels, an upright snowplow driver, awarded a Citizen of the Year prize by his glitzy Colorado ski town, whose life is turned upside down when his son is murdered by a powerful local drug kingpin.

“Fueled by an unwavering drive for vengeance and armed with heavy machinery, this unlikely hero sets out to dismantle the cartel with extreme prejudice, and he’s not stopping until he gets to the top of the food chain,” “Hard Powder’s” synopsis reads.

Nels’ vengeance sparks a turf war between a Native American mafia boss and the Viking, a fastidious gangster who wears Tom Ford suits, is a vegan, drives a Tesla and murders people. This climaxes in a final showdown that leaves almost no one unscathed.

An uptight snowplow driver? Heavy machinery? Murderous, snappy dressing, Tesla car driving, vegan gangsters? What the hell is going on here? And when the hell do I get to experience it for myself, because holy crap this sounds like my kind of crazy! A further few statements from Studiocanal doesn’t do anything to dissuade my anticipation, as they indicated that “Liam Neeson plays an ordinary man driven to extraordinary lengths, a hero in the mold of Clint Eastwood in ‘Unforgiven’ or Bruce Willis in ‘Die Hard.’”

Yeah, I am definitely watching this movie. With production not having started yet, it’s unclear when that will be though.

 

A robotic jacket to regulate your temperature for all occasions

Living in Cape Town, one of the biggest frustrations is knowing what to wear. It might look sunny and feel warm now, but you never know when that gust of wind or the next cold front is going to strike, leaving your t-shirt and flip-flops outfit looking a little ridiculous. So in a city that goes through four different seasons in one day, it would be nice to have an outfit that could handle all of them and still have you look cool doing it… Oh, who cares about looking cool, just having that outfit would be good enough!

And startup company Omius Tech believes they have the answer to this with a jacket that uses artificial intelligence and robotics to automatically adjust your personal temperature during changing weather events or activity levels. It certainly looks and sounds creepy, but this could be the fashion statement of the future.

New Atlas reports that the inspiration for the jacket none other than Mother Nature itself as the researchers looked at how plants regulate their own temperature through microscopic pores called stomata. In plants, these pores open and close to let specific gases in and out, which the jacket is looking to mimic in a less microscopic way.

The stomata system on this waterproof and windproof jacket is instead quite visible. These slit-like vents run up and down the chest and upper back of the jacket. However, while all these slits would typically seem cumbersome to open and close manually, this jacket will electronically open and close these vents based on a sensor which measures your body and ambient temperature. It’s quite high-tech, as the jacket requires its own built-in processor and robotic hardware to work effectively.

Omius CEO Gustavo Cadena describes how this technology is intended to work to find the optimum amount of ventilation for you:

Machine learning algorithms let us map out the comfort preferences of each user, allowing the jacket to automatically adapt its protection to the user’s preferences, maintaining always the right temperature. Over time, the jacket will become an extension of the user, synchronizing its movements with the rest of the body, just like a second skin.

The jacket will include pressure sensors which will allow the wearer to open and close vents as needed in certain situations, which helps the system to learn the wearer’s preferences and over time this should not be required.

While it might seem overkill at first for people envisioning this for small walks, it can become really useful on longer hikes in the mountains or when spending lengthy amounts of time outdoors with the weather and wind constantly changing. The additional hardware for the device reportedly only adds an extra 100g of weight to the clothing (less than your mobile device) which means it is unlikely to impact your mobility in any way.

There is no indication on what the Omius jacket would be priced at, but it will no doubt be expensive once it is released. Hopefully by the time it comes to the South African market, the costs of the technology will be greatly reduced.

Marvel’s in no rush to find a director for Captain Marvel film

While Marvel Studios has been steadily lining up the filmmakers for their Phase 3 movies, one film which doesn’t yet have a confirmed director is Captain Marvel. Marvel Studios have traditionally always picked directors who show talent, but also relative obscurity to the blockbuster trade. This was evident in their choices for past or planned films with James Gunn on Guardians of the Galaxy, Peyton Reed on Ant-Man, Joe and Anthony Russo on Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Jon Watts on Spider-Man: Homecoming, Taika Waititi on Thor: Ragnarok and Scott Derrickson on Doctor Strange.

And while we already know who our Captain Marvel will be with Brie Larson confirmed to star as the biggest female super-hero in the Marvel Comics universe, it seems almost strange that they have no director yet for such an important and ambitious character.As Marvel are meticulous planners and like to have a clear picture of their movie road-map, it does seem a little out of place for them to not have this film secured yet. Considering that DC Comics’ Wonder Woman is coming out this year, you would think that the battle for the biggest female super-hero would be one they would want to get a stab at soon.

But according to a recent update from Variety’s Justin Kroll on the development of the film, Marvel indicated that they are in no rush to name a director as they are still looking to get a script that they like. While I can understand that they would like to close out the script before focusing on a helmer for the project, it is still strange as you would normally want your director and writer to work closely in shaping the final version of the film. Marvel has pursued this approach in their other projects so its not something I’m personally buying, even if they have proven that they know what they are doing. Could it simply be that they simply haven’t found the right director yet?

There was a report last year that Marvel is looking to tap a female director this big project. This would mark the first time they have not worked with a male director in their cinematic universe and as such they probably want to take their time in securing the right fit, not just for this first movie, but other potential Marvel films that will come up.

The Meddler review (DVD) – A charming film for people who love rom-coms

Just as this film follows the story of a widowed mother with perhaps too much time on her hands and needs to interfere in her daughter’s life to find meaning, so too The Meddler has equal doses of endearing mixed with annoying. It’s a wonderfully relatable film that may not seem like it goes anywhere, but is likely to strike a chord with you in same way as you watch it.

Susan Sarandon plays Marnie, a widow who moved to LA from her native New York to be closer to her daughter (Rose Bryne), an aspiring Hollywood screenwriter with relationship struggles of her own. With nothing much to do during her day, Marnie tries to keep herself busy by trending with the latest Apple technology, yoga and finding out what her dear daughter is up to. In the process she gets involved with her friends, offering to help pay for a wedding for a couple that can’t afford it and being a better friend to them than her own daughter. Along the way she meets a retired police officer now working as a security guard (J.K. Simmons) who tries to strike up a relationship, but Marnie struggles to commit as she is torn between the need to hold on to her deceased husband and the need to move on.

The characters in the film are well thought out and relatable. The script does a great job at introducing you to the characters and getting to know them without needing too much guess work. The standout of the film is truly Sarandon, who provides a lot of charm to the role and plays the oftentimes annoying and overpowering Marnie to a tee. That her performance comes across as completely natural and sincere is what makes the film work. Similarly Simmons plays the principal love interest with natural charm and ease. In the daughter, Bryne pulls a solid performance, but is easily overshadowed by the two more accomplished thespians.

What strengths the script has in building its characters though, it loses in purpose. While you learn to both love and hate the character of Marnie, you also get frustrated that the film doesn’t try and reach any form of meaningful conclusion. You partake on this journey in the character, but end up wondering what she gets out of it all.

Similarly, the direction by Lorene Scafaria (who also serves as the film’s writer) accomplishes what it sets out to do in bringing the actors to the forefront and allowing their performances to shine, but lacks significant purpose in its style. The editing follows suit in reliably allowing the story to flow at a good pace but without creating or building tension in any specific place. The film also makes use of a contemporary soundtrack, with a mix of old country and new pop songs to bring out the mood of an older woman trying to relate to a newer world and also works in making the film perhaps appeal to young and old, even if it doesn’t do much else to the rest of the story.

The Meddler was marketed as a Mother’s Day film when it was released in the US and although its subsequent DVD release is out of whack with this timing, it’s still very much remains the target market for this kind of film. It’s designed more for women to watch and relate to the bond between mother and daughter, both the good and bad of it and bring a chuckle of enjoyment in the process without making you think too much or cry at all.

This is not the movie that you’re going to remember for long once it’s finished, but if you fit its target market and are in for some nice light hearted entertainment with the woman in your family or household, this should provide decent viewing.

The Meddler is out now on DVD

The Meddler (DVD)
Summary

A film aimed at a specific target market, but oozes a lot of charm in a middling story that is held together by the ever-capable Susan Sarandon.

5.5

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Hit or Miss: Marmite is delicious, and haters are missing out

MArmite

Marmite. It’s something you either love or you hate – with there being absolutely no room for middle ground. A bit like current politics, I suppose. The sticky, gooey, salty brown paste has as many fans as it has detractors. It’s even entered the lexicon as a descriptor for something which can only have polarising opinions.

Me? I love the stuff. Spread very thinly over buttered toast, it’s intense and salty, rich umami flavours tickle my taste buds, while simultaneously peeling the skin off the roof of my mouth – and that’s just how I like it. There is of course, a school of thought (and a legion of fans) who’ll say that the meatier Bovril is superior. I may sit in that camp. Not because of its beefier taste, but just because it spreads a little easier, which means I actually have toast for breakfast instead of shredded blobs of crusty bread.

Anyway, I think Marmite (and other similar, goopy brown extract spreads) is delicious stuff – but what about you? Do you think it’s road tar, jarred by the devil and sold to an idiotic populace? Do you think Bovril rules, and Marmite has no place on this or any other earth?

Do you want a Marmite and sharp cheddar cheese sandwich right this very instant?

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter Review – brain-dead zombie film franchise dies at last

For someone that hates horror movies in general and zombies in particular, I kind of enjoy the Resident Evil series. They’re by no means good, but they’ve usually been fun. Everyone agrees that they’re flashy and trashy, and you’re not meant to take them seriously. That being said, Resident Evil: The Final Chapter was one of the worst movies I have ever seen, hands down.

RESIDENT EVIL: THE FINAL CHAPTER.

The Final Chapter picks up right after the events of Retribution, which I didn’t know about because I haven’t watched a Resident Evil movie since Extinction. That’s okay though, because they spend a good deal in the beginning going over the events of the previous five movies in a massive exposition dump. This is in between the choppy editing, cheap jump scares you can see from a mile away and… dragons? When did the Resident Evil movies get dragons?! And that’s all in the first few minutes! Hoo boy.

Having survived the events of the previous film (obviously), our no-longer-super-powered protagonist Alice is contacted by her nemesis, The Red Queen. The mission? I really don’t care at this point but apparently it’s to save the world. Again. But totally for real this time, guys. So back to Raccoon City for Alice, in an attempt to book-end the series by repeating the first movie, only this time it’s not as cool. Yes, that means that mutant dogs and the laser corridor make a return, but in a completely watered down form.

RESIDENT EVIL: THE FINAL CHAPTER.

I can’t really go into the plot, as there’s not enough to warrant speaking about save for the enormous holes. Besides, every set-up, twist and reveal is so eye-rollingly obvious it’s insulting. The editing is atrocious, every fight scene has about 80 cuts to different angles and you can’t tell what’s going on. Even in the “calmer” scenes with characters conversing, the camera bobs and weaves. At least they tone it down for those scenes, with only about 30 cuts each.

Speaking of the characters, there’s also not much to talk about there. When it comes to the acting, it seemed like everyone was woodenly reading from cue cards just off camera. Milla Jovovich does her best and kicks some serious butt, but mostly, everyone else is just phoning it in. The supporting cast either look way too uninterested, or say their lines in a vaguely befuddled way, like they’re not sure why they’re in the movie. The terribly stiff acting got to the point where I was having a hard time trying to tell if Wesker was real, or another Tarkin-esque CGI non-person.

RESIDENT EVIL: THE FINAL CHAPTER.

I would try to talk more about the special effects and the CGI, but honestly, the editing was so haphazard I couldn’t really tell if it was good or not. I swear this film was edited by a squirrel on a caffeine bender. The pace is unbelievably frantic, as the film never really slows down at all. You might think the high-octane momentum is a good thing, but the pace is unsustainable. When a film moves that quickly to throw as much as it can in your face, you lose track of what’s going on.

“But Tracy”, you cry, “This is Resident Evil we’re talking about! You said it yourself, they’re flashy and trashy, why would you expect anything else?” Well, when it comes to “bad” movies, there are two kinds of bad: good-bad, and bad-bad. Good-bad movies revel in their badness and take you along for the ride. Good-bad is still cheesy and fun, not to be taken seriously.

RESIDENT EVIL: THE FINAL CHAPTER.

Ugh, is it over yet?

Bad-bad movies are just that, they’re bad. And Resident Evil: The Final Chapter is definitely a bad-bad movie. Badly directed, badly acted, really badly edited and just not worth your time. I could only recommend it for one of two reasons. One, if you’re a massive Resident Evil fan, then fair enough – you might eke out some enjoyment from the last installment. Two: if you’re a completionist that just has to watch it because you can’t rest until you’ve seen them all. If that’s the case then that’s kind of weird, but hey, you do you.

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter
Summary

For everyone else, I would only say go along to make sure you witness the last nail in the coffin of this franchise. Hopefully it doesn’t rise from the grave again, because this zombie of a movie is falling apart.

3
49/ 100

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Rings review – Just watch It Follows instead

Of all the movie genres, horror is probably the most dynamic. Sure, certain franchises may get milked to death, but before they reach that point, there are always surprises. Low budget sleeper hits come out of nowhere every single year, whether they are indie efforts or studio funded. Standouts in very recent years have included The Babadook, Sinister, The Witch, Lights Out and Don’t Breathe. There are many clichés to be overcome, but there are also a lot of fresh new ideas and exciting executions. Which makes brand new release Rings such a massive disappointment.

It’s been 15 years since the release of the American version of The Ring (based on Japan’s Ringu). The Ring’s 2005 sequel was mediocre, but the first movie ushered in a new approach to horror. Hollywood realised there was a market for quiet, atmospheric films that took their time to build a sense of dread. Horror movies could be a largely gore-free PG-13 but still set you quivering. Also, contorting women with bone-white skin and long black hair make pretty nifty villains.

Here’s the thing though: Horror has moved on since 2002. Rings hasn’t at all. It feels like you’re back in the first half of the Noughties. It’s stale, boring and not the least bit scary. If you want to watch a proper spiritual successor to The Ring, seek out It Follows instead. That is the evolved form of this type of supernatural psychological horror film, where characters are trying to out-manoeuvre a relentless, deadly and completely incomprehensible force.

Rings is a wasted opportunity. In the movie’s first Act, the audience and young heroine Julia (newcomer Matilda Lutz) learn that Johnny Galecki’s university professor has created an experiment out of viewing the cursed video tape. In keeping with franchise lore, if you watch the footage, you have seven days to make a copy and show it to someone. If you don’t, vengeful spirit Samara will pop out the nearest screen and scare you to death. Literally.

Transplanting the curse to an academic setting has potential, but it’s not really explored. Neither is the golden opportunity presented by our changed style of video-sharing thanks to the Internet and social media. What would happen if the video was uploaded to YouTube, for example? That’s veering the film series in a fresh direction. But nope. Instead of attempting something new, Julia and her bland hunk of a boyfriend, Hoyt (Alex Roe), head off to a dying town to basically retread the plot of the first movie.

Perhaps all the repetition is due to the makers of Rings trying to accommodate viewers who haven’t seen the first two movies. It’s been 15 years after all. However, Rings is a poor imitation. The Ring was well-acted and featured moody, memorable cinematography. There is nothing striking about Rings, except for the moments it weakly copies (whether intentional or not) other better films in the genre.

Ultimately, Rings feels like a horror movie for someone who hasn’t watched this style of horror film before. It’s for people who are still creeped out by imagery you might find in a goth high schooler’s multimedia art project. It’s for people who recoil at the sight of crawling insects. And it’s for people who need the heroine to vocalize the solution to the film’s big mystery if they are to have any chance of understanding it.

Rack this one up as another tepid, too-late sequel.

 

Rings
Summary

Rings is a dated horror film completely devoid of atmosphere and frights. Rewatch the original or seek out It Follows, a much better contemporary take on the same concept.

2
25/ 100

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The good, the bad, and the ugly of the past week – 03 February 2017

AWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW

I got myself a Rasberry Pi for Christmas, and I’ve only just recently gotten around to turning it into a retro gaming console. You know what it’s taught me? Old games are effing hard! Seriously Capcom, what were you thinking unleashing the likes of Mega Man 1 onto innocent consumers?

Anyhow, onto more important things. It is with great sadness that I announce that I am leaving Critical Hit. I always planned to move onto something different in 2017, but I always thought I’d still write for the site in some capacity – maybe the odd review here and there for example. Unfortunately, with the new job I have taken, it doesn’t seem like that will be possible (it’s a bit of a conflict of interest in my eyes), at least not in the immediate future.

Though I’m definitely excited about the new adventure that lies ahead of me, I am heartbroken that I am leaving this wonderful team behind. They are passionate, talented, dedicated, and just goddam awesome to work with. I’m going to sorely miss our office discussions, which more often than not bordered on absurdity.

I’d like to thank Geoff for giving me this opportunity. Several years ago, I dropped him an email asking if I could submit a piece or two. He kindly gave me the go ahead, and that opened up the door for me to do something I’ve always dreamed of doing.

I can say that I wrote about games for a living. I can say that I had to actually sit down and play something for work, so I could review it. I can say that I was flown to different parts of the world just so I could preview code before it reached the hands of consumers.  I can say that I’ve been to Gamescom, BlizzCon, and even the biggest show of them all, E3. I can say that I’ve met some of the creative people who made the very games I love playing.

I’ve made vivid memories that I will carry with me forever. More than that though, and more importantly I think, I’ve forged awesome new friendships.

To Alessandro, Marco, Darryn, Gavin, Geoff, Kyle, and Zoe – the original Lazygamer team – thank you for everything; the general banter, philosophical discussions, and all the laughs. ALL OF THEM! To the original The Movies team; Craig, Kervyn, Nick, Noelle, Tracy, and Trevor, I’m sorry our time together was so short. I would’ve loved to work with you all for a lot longer! Last but definitely not least, to you the readers, thank you for everything;  the comments, the memes, the giggles… everything. It has been such a pleasure writing for you!

Best Stories

Let’s start with some real good news, shall we? Here’re a whole lot of competitions we’re running that you should totally enter:

If you’re a fan of racers, you’ll be happy to know that the first trailer for Project Cars 2 was leaked earlier this week. Check it out:

If racing ain’t your thing, fine, how about some Batman? Apparently a new game is going to be announced come March the 8th!

Worst Stories

In WTF news this week, PETA has called for a ban on plastic fur worn by Warhammer figures. No really, we’re not making this up! Plastic figurines need to stop sporting fake fur, because it’s sending the message that such a thing is acceptable. Well with that logic, I’m surprised more people aren’t out and about reenacting the bloody battlefields of Warhammer.

Ben Affleck is no longer directing The Batman. I only consider it a potential piece of bad news because I consider him a great director. I was looking forward to seeing his take on the caped crusader. At the very least, he’ll still be acting in and producing the film. Phew!

Lastly, Trump decided to impose a ban on Muslims a couple of days ago. That in itself is already WTF, but it carries some other ramifications that you may not have considered. For example, it’s having an impact on eSports.

Random Stories

This week, it came out that Conan: Exiles would allow players to generously play around with their endowment. That’s already quite random I guess, but not as random as this NSFW video that Darryn put together:

I don’t have any intention to grab the Nintendo Switch anytime soon, and thus, the new Legend of Zelda, but this new Nendoroid figurine? Holy hell – just shut up and take my money already. That thing is too damn cute for its own good!

It’s either that, or this Horizon Zero Dawn Collector’s Edition. Damn you gaming industry, why must you hate my wallet so?

Editorials, Previews, and Reviews this Week

Hit or Miss: The 89th Academy Award Nominations
Bravado Gaming – The hero SA needs or the one it deserves
Fitbit Charge 2 review – a great, feature-filled fitness device
Resident Evil 7: Biohazard review – a terrifying and excellent return to form
Darling Brewery – fantastic atmosphere and some great beer
Collateral Beauty Review – A quotable piece of therapy – if not entertainment
CAYNE Review – Barefoot and pregnant in space is only the beginning of the horror
Poochy and Yoshi’s Woolly World review – A slight compromise on platforming magnificence
Nioh Review (in Progress) – Immensely satisfying samurai action
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Mega Battle Review
Yakuza 0 review – An engrossing origin story that’s perfect for newcomers and a treat for veterans
It may be nearly 20 years old, but Castlevania: Symphony of the Night is still amazing
Matty’s Top 10 games of all time (for now)
A personal wishlist: 8 things I want to see in Overwatch
Seven directors we’d love to see helm The Batman
5 games to play on your new PlayStation VR
Sriracha Showdown – Who’s got the best locally available Sriracha?

Header of the Week

Deus-Ex-MK

Deus Ex is taking a vacation, and according to Darryn, Adam Jensen is off to do some fishing. That Photoshop (we never asked for) is just too glorious to not feature here.

Comment of the Week

Remember that PETA request to ban Warhammer figures from wearing fake fur? Dutch Matrix explains why it’s so important. Just look at this legit testimony:

A mother sits on the steps of her stoep, dabbing a tissue at a tearful eye. Once again she takes in the horrible blood soaked scene in front of her and again, for what seems to Paul the hundredth time, she starts bawling. “I don’t know what happened!” she admits as she stops crying long enough. “I just bought little Pieterjie a Warhammer statue, next thing I know he takes the broodmes to poor Twinkies yelling MUST.WEAR.IT’S.FUR!!!! Winter is COMING!!”

Oh you!

Bonus Premium Content

Here’s a video Darryn and I have always loved because REASONS:

Next up, my own choice, a classic Wronchi animation:

And then something from Kervyn:

Lastly, a little something something from Geoff:

So long everybody. Thank you for everything, really, from the bottom of my heart!

Movies out Today: 03 February 2017

For the first week of February, this is a dire selection of movies. Usually by now we have at least one Academy Award contender opening per week. Instead, the movies out today are representing the complete opposite of Oscar worthy cinema.

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter

Age Restriction: 16 V

Picking up immediately after the events in Resident Evil: Retribution, Alice (Milla Jovovich) is the only survivor of what was meant to be humanity’s final stand against the undead. Now, she must return to where the nightmare began – The Hive in Raccoon City, where the Umbrella Corporation is gathering its forces for a final strike against the only remaining survivors of the apocalypse.

I can’t in good conscience recommend that you watch this movie. Everything about it is bad. The acting, the lighting, the editing (oh my word the editing), just… everything. If you want to watch it, I can’t stop you, I’m not your mom. Just don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Critical Hit: 3/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 38%
Metacritic: 50

Book at Nu Metro (2D)
Book at Nu Metro or Ster Kinekor (3D)
Book at Nu Metro (4DX)
Book at Ster Kinekor (IMAX)

Rings

Age Restriction: 13 H V

A young woman becomes worried about her boyfriend when he explores a dark subculture surrounding a mysterious videotape said to kill the watcher seven days after he has viewed it. She sacrifices herself to save her boyfriend and in doing so makes a horrifying discovery: there is a “movie within the movie” that no one has ever seen before…

As Noelle points out in her review, horror movies have evolved. Unfortunately, Rings has not. It’s a stagnant, tepid remake of an excellent horror movie that was great for its time, but doesn’t do so well in a more updated setting. Lacking the surprised and the deeply creepy atmosphere of the original, Rings is “just another horror movie”, and that’s pretty damning.

Critical Hit: 2/10
Rotten Tomatoes: TBD
Metacritic: TBD

Book at Nu Metro or Ster Kinekor (2D)

Live By Night

Age Restriction: 16 L V

In the roaring ’20s, Prohibition hasn’t stopped the flow of booze in an underground network of gangster-run speakeasies. The opportunity to gain power and money is there for any man with enough ambition and nerve and Joe Coughlin, the son of the Boston Police Superintendent, long ago turned his back on his strict upbringing for the spoils of being an outlaw. But even among criminals there are rules and Joe breaks a big one: crossing a powerful mob boss by stealing his money and his moll. The fiery affair ends in tragedy, setting Joe on a path of revenge, ambition, romance and betrayal that propels him out of Boston and up the ladder of Tampa’s steamy rum-running underworld.

Despite the beautiful cinematography and skilled directing from Affleck, Live by Night is let down by its problematic script. It’s both too much, and not enough. Packed to the brim with story but ultimately lacking in substance, Live by Night doesn’t live up to its promises.

Rotten Tomatoes: 35%
Metacritic: 49

Book at Nu Metro or Ster Kinekor (2D)

The Space Between Us

Age Restriction: 7-9 PG

After arriving to help colonize Mars, an astronaut dies while giving birth to the first human born on the red planet – never revealing who the father is. Thus begins the extraordinary life of Gardner Elliot (Asa Butterfield) – an inquisitive, highly intelligent boy who reaches the age of 16 having only met 14 people in his very unconventional upbringing. While searching for clues about his father, and the home planet he’s never known, Gardner begins an online friendship with a street smart girl named Tulsa. When he finally gets a chance to go to Earth, Gardner is eager to experience all of the wonders he could only read about on Mars. But after his explorations begin, scientists discover that Gardner’s organs can’t withstand Earth’s atmosphere. Gardner joins with Tulsa on a race against time to unravel the mysteries of how he came to be, and where he belongs in the universe.

The Space Between Us has a really fascinating premise, and I’ll admit that my interest was piqued. Sadly, all that potential is buried in a mound of cheese. The movie vacillates between super corny and outright ridiculous, with stilted dialogue that even the accomplished Asa Butterfield struggles with. It might be a hit with the tween crowd, but it tries so hard to be hip and trendy that it will feel dated by next year.

Rotten Tomatoes: 13%
Metacritic: 33

Book at Nu Metro or Ster Kinekor (2D)

For more information about the age restrictions, click here.

Producer Basil Iwanyk talks about setting Robin Hood: Origins apart from previous adaptions

We’ve been hearing a lot about upcoming projects from John Wick: Chapter 2 producer Basil Iwanyk over the last few days as he does the press rounds to promote the sequel (releasing 10 February in the US but only 17 March locally) to the 2014 Keanu Reeves-led ass kicking masterpiece.

He’s already talked about the Splinter Cell video game movie adaption and the Sicario prequel/sequel, and proving that sometimes we can get too much of a good thing he also spoke to Collider about another project he’s producing – Robin Hood: Origins.

Robin Hood is one of the most popular and enduring myths of our time, but for those of you who need a brief refresher:

Robin Hood was the legendary bandit of England who stole from the rich to help the poor. The stories about Robin appealed to common folk because he stood up against—and frequently outwitted—people in power. Furthermore, his life in the forest—hunting and feasting with his fellow outlaws, coming to the assistance of those in need—seemed like a great and noble adventure.

The movie has an excellent cast attached with Taron Egerton (Kingsman: The Secret Service) as Robin Hood, Jamie Foxx (Ray) as Little John, Ben Mendelsohn (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) as The Sheriff of Nottingham and Eve Hewson (Bridge of Spies) as Maid Marion. Otto Bathurst (Peaky Blinders, Black Mirror) is on board to direct the script written by Joby Harold (Awake).

Now you’re probably thinking to yourself, “Gosh, but there have already been so many Robin Hoods. The last Russell Crowe one, the Kevin Costner one with the song that was the bane of the ’90s, some TV show, the great animated Disney movie, Ivanhoe, and the hilarious Men in Tights.” Well, a brief trip to Wikipedia tells me that there have been 72 Robin Hood-based movie and TV adaptions over the years – with the earliest being the 1908 silent film Robin Hood and His Merry Men.

Russell Crowe in 2010's Robin Hood

Russell Crowe in 2010’s Robin Hood

This lead to Collider asking one very obvious question: what sets this new adaption apart from previous incarnations featuring the legendary outlaw?

Exempting the killer cast, I feel that it captures the adventure and the fun and the spirit of Robin Hood, but because it’s the origin story—it’s a kid going off to war thinking he’s going on a great Crusade, and realizing it’s all bullshit and coming back with some PTSD and realizing he’s been lied to, and coming back to kind of a fractured society that doesn’t really accept him and realizing, ‘Okay the super rich are getting richer, and the poor are getting poorer.’ You could describe that now.

What Joby Harold, our writer, was able to do is make it feel very allegorical and very contemporary, and feel youthful but not youthful in a YA way, youthful in a kind of, the anger, the energy, what people when they were 25 feel, without it being pandering like ‘Look, we’re the young version of the movie!’

As the saying goes actions speak louder than words – and in this case my action upon hearing that was to lower my head into my hands and sigh heavily. A few choice words might’ve slipped out too. The reason the character is adapted so regularly is because his essential story has always been “very allegorical and very contemporary”. It’s the conflict between the poor and downtrodden versus the rich and powerful, something that’s remained (and will sadly continue to remain) a contentious issue for centuries.

Iwanyk went on to talk briefly about how the action beats in Robin Hood: Origins are heavily inspired by the stylish action of John Wick:

The images of Robin Hood, the imagery we have, the production design, the stunt work that we’re doing—a lot of it was inspired by the John Wick stunt work. The stuff we’re doing with the bow and arrow, it’s the same thing that Keanu does with the gun. The costumes, it just feels different than any other Robin Hood we had.

The action in John Wick was excellent and I’m definitely not against other movies emulating that style, I’m just having a really hard time picturing it in a Robin Hood movie.

Errol Flynn in 1938's The Adventures of Robin Hood

Errol Flynn in 1938’s The Adventures of Robin Hood

He went on to reveal that Ben Mendelsohn’s casting as The Sheriff of Nottingham was far from a sure thing initially and that director Otto Bathurst worked hard to nail him down for the role:

Otto [Bathurst] is a star, our director. He’s a closer. Because that cast is sprawling. Jamie Foxx and Ben Mendelsohn and Taron Egerton, those are different muscles to flex. And Ben, who did not want to play a bad guy, after meeting Otto was just like ‘Oh my God this movie’s gonna be great. I’m all in.’ We had him right when Rogue One made a gazillion dollars so it was the last thing he wanted to do, but Otto closed him.

I have very mixed feelings after hearing this. There’s a lot I like about this adaption – mainly because of the excellent cast – but I’m worried they’ll get too carried away creating great action sequences and forget about the story. Seeing will definitely be believing for me when it comes to this adaption of the classic tale.

Right now one thing I’m hoping for is that Taron Egerton, who showed off a decent set of pipes in Sing, can be persuaded to give us a rendition of the best Robin Hood song. No Geoff, not Bryan Adams’ ‘(Everything I Do) I Do It For You’, but Roger Miller’s ‘Robin Hood and Lil’ John’… because oo-de-lally oo-de-lally golly what a day that would be.

Am I being too negative? What do you you think?