Chris Pratt takes us behind the scenes to introduce us to some of the amazing crew working on Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.
Normally when a sci-fi film featuring a cast of the calibre of Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt hits Australian cinemas it is big news. Yet somehow, possibly due to the fact that it opens in Australia on that awkward 1St January New Years slot, Passengers is right upon us. Well we here at Heavy decided that it was time to do something about that and we thought you would like to hear what Lawrence and Pratt have to say about this great new sci-fi.
Lawrence beings by saying that was attracted to this film because it really intrigued her. “I found the characters that are involved with this story really intriguing because it is such a huge decision to make,” explains Lawrence. “When you think about it if you take a 120 year long journey when you arrive everybody that you know will be dead so you have to start a whole new life on a planet that you have never been to. So of course there are going to be interesting characters that are involved when there is a decision like that.I thought the script was such an interesting concept that I hadn’t seen anything like it. I loved the world, I loved the two characters and I loved just the sheer idea of the whole thing. I thought it was so creative and interesting because when I closed the script I thought people with leave the cinema with a million different opinions and that’s what I really like about the film, that nobody is telling you how to feel that it is all ‘what would you do?’, it’s a real conversation starter.”
So that leads straight into the question of why her character, Aurora, decides to make that big decision. “Aurora is very driven,” says Lawrence after thinking for a few seconds. “She is also very curious and is the daughter of a very famous author which I think always keeps her wanting more and wanting her to have her name so I think all of these combine with her adventurous spirit and that sends her off.”
Lawrence also says that the predicament that the characters find themselves in also affects the way the film looks. “This film is visually interesting because really these two characters are trapped,” she says. “But it is the space that makes the visuals so large and they are so lost in this huge space that is so much bigger than them. SO I thought that was interesting with the dynamics of what the characters feels and what the characters are going through emotionally. All that versus this large, gaping space that they are stuck in.”
Of course most of the female audience out there are once again going to fall in love with Chris Pratt when they sit down to watch Passengers, so what does Jennifer Lawrence have to say about working with the talented star. “Chris Pratt is the hardest working person on a movie, including the crew and I mean including everybody. He is the hardest working person that I have ever met in my life and he has such an amazing attitude. Chris and I were also always thirsty to know what Morten (the film’s director, Morten Tyldum) was thinking and of course his opinion of our characters but we were all really dialled in together.”
Now of course Chris Pratt doesn’t need any introduction to most movie goers these days. Over the past few years he has made big budget films like Guardians Of The Galaxy and Jurassic World his own so what is his take on Passengers. “Well there are about five thousand passengers on the Avalon and they are travelling to this new planet called Homestead 2. They are travelling in what are called hibernation pods, and they are pretty much what they sound like, they are cocoons with the passengers inside where they are kept in suspended animation where they don’t age, they don’t grow, they don’t get sick, they just stop all metabolic function and may character’s pod malfunctions and he wakes up ninety years early. When i read the script I could not believe that I had been given the opportunity to be in this movie. Sometimes you read a script and it just grabs a hold of you and does not let go and I was never going to let anybody else do this movie. From the moment I read it i wanted it and that was how it was going to be and i was really so fortunate that it came together the way it did. I’m a huge fan of talent and when I see the sets that the people on this crew have built I can not help but be in awe. There are so many artists, literally hundreds and hundreds of people that have worked on this film and that’s not even counting the post-production people. I am always going to be awe of the magnitude of this type of film. ”
So does he believe that audience will also be left in awe? “This is the kind of movie that blows people away,” he says with a smile. “I think that is what we like in movies, movies are entertaining, movies can be scary, they are entertainment and that is okay but sometimes a movie will blow you away… and I think that is this movie.”
Anyone who has watched the trailer for Passengers has seen that Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt have to interact with actor Michael Sheen playing a robot called Arthur and Pratt says that brought an interesting dynamic to the film “Of course we had to try and work out this interesting dynamic of how human Arthur should be,” he explains. “We are really far into the future, at least far enough to have created fusion drive and travel at light speeds and have suspended animation and of course with that technology available you have to imagine that we have made some big jumps in artificial intelligence so I think Michael did a really good job, with the help of Morten, in working out just how human he would make this android character. He did just enough to make my character forget sometimes that he wasn’t a human.”
When a film leaves people like Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt in awe you know that is going to be something special. So despite the lack of attention that has been given to Passengers so far now is the time to sit up and take notice because this may well be one of the sleep hits of this summer.
Passengers is released in cinemas on 1st January, 2017.
Sci-fi fans gets ready because Passengers arrives in cinemas on New Year’s Day. Starring Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt this is one of the most eagerly anticipated films of the holiday season. So, sit back and enjoy our Passengers interviews.
Summary: Seven gun men in the old west gradually come together to help a poor village against savage thieves.
Australian Cinema Release Date: 29th September 2016
Australian DVD Release Date: TBA
Director: Antoine Fuqua
Screenwriter: Nic Pizzolatto, Richard Wenk, Akira Kurosawa (original script), Shinobu Hashimoto (original script), Hideo Oguni (original script)
Cast: Alix Angelis (Clara Wintrhop), Mark Ashworth (Preacher), Walker Babington (Dicky), Jackson Beals (One Eyed Lucas), Emil Beheshti (Maxwell), Haley Bennett (Emma Cullen), Thomas Blake Jr. (Earl), Matt Bomer (Matthew Cullen), Sean Boyd (Topper), Sean Bridgers (Fanning), Vic Browder (Arcade Jones), Ryan Brown (Ken Pigeon), Vincent D’Onofrio (Jack Horne), Griff Furst (Phillips), Manuel Garcia-Rulfo (Vasquez), Cam Gigandet (McCann), Luke Grimes (Teddy Q), Ethan Hawke (Goodnight Robicheaux), Clint James (Fenton), Cedric D. Jones (Curtis), Vinnie Jones (uncredited), Jonathan Joss (Denali), David Kallaway (Turner/Blacksmith), Derek Lacasa (Len Pigion), Dylan Langlois (R.L. Garrett), Carrie Lazar (Leni Frankel), Byung-hun Lee (Billy Rocks), Heath Lemme (Heath), David Manzanares (Referee/Eddy), Rictchie Montgomery (Gavin David), Jody Mullins (Caleb Frankel), Matthew Posey (Hank Stoner), Chris Pratt (Josh Faraday), Dodge Prince (Anthony), Chad Randall (Bartender/Powder Dan), Dane Rhodes (Sheriff Harp), Peter Sarsgaard (Bartholomew Bogue), William Lee Scott (Moody), Martin Sensmeier (Red Harvest), Billy Slaughter (Josiah), Denzel Washington (Chisolm), Kevin Wayne (Monday Durant)
Runtime: 133 mins
One question always has to be asked when a remake of a film surfaces… why was the remake made? Was it because a director thought he had a more creative or ‘modern’ way to tell the original story? Was it because a team of filmmakers thought that current day technology could improve on what was made decades ago? Sadly, none of these questions seem to answer that question about the remake of the legendary western The Magnificent Seven (which itself was a remake of Seven Samurai).
Directed by Antoine Fuqua (Training Day) this remake sees honest lawman Chisolm (Denzel Washington – American Gangster) recruited by innocent widow Emma Cullen (Haley Bennett – The Equalizer) whose husband was murdered when he stood up against corrupt gold mining company owner Bartholomew Bogue (Peter Sarsgaard – Green Lantern) who has taken a town hostage as he takes land via violent means.
When Chisolm is convinced to take on Bogue and his men in a bid to rescue the town he puts together a group that includes gambler Josh Faraday (Chris Pratt – Guardians Of The Galaxy), burnt out Civil War veteran Goodnight Robicheaux (Ethan Hawke – Good Kill), tribe hunter Jack Horne (Vincent D’Onofrio – Law & Order: Criminal Intent), knife expert Billy Rocks (Byung-hun Lee – Terminator Genisys), native warrior Red Harvest (Martin Sensmeir – Lilin’s Brood) and the wanted outlaw Vasquez (Manuel Garcia-Rulfo – Cake).
There are of course positives and negatives to this remake. One of the positives is getting to see Denzel Washington play yet another strong leading man, and I would be lying if I said it’s not great to see a big budget Western back on the big screen, hopefully this is a start of a lot more.
Sadly though the negatives outweigh the positives. While the film holds up its entertainment value and looks visually good the disappointing thing is that this is modern remake doesn’t offer the audience anything different to what we have been watching in this genre for the last fifty years. There’s no new tactical ways for a battle to be fought out or even any new creative ways to shoot the movie by Fuqua and his team.
The other big disappointment is the screenplay. While the film does at times raise the suspense and tension it misses other key moments that really could have made this a better film. It is really believable that a native American warrior would fight on the same team as a tribe hunter without any form of hostility or tension? Likewise there needed to be a better explanation to why Chisholm joins the fight in the first place… the explanation comes way too late in the film. Don’t even get me started on the weak CGI graves at the end of the film either.
Perhaps the biggest disappointment though is how the screenplay lets down the cast. Denzel Washington gets a chance to star in this film… the rest don’t. Chris Pratt is obviously there for comic relief (a hat that certainly doesn’t fit his character) and ends up just playing the same character he did in Guardians Of The Galaxy. The rest of the cast seem to end up playing clichés though with Manuel Garcia-Rulfo completely wasted in his role. The only other upside with the acting is with Emily Bennett who does more than enough to suggest that she can be a leading lady in the future.
The Magnificent Seven may be enough to entertain a modern audience and provide the odd bit of suspense throughout. But for seasoned fans of the Western genre the film offers nothing new and will easily be seen as a fair bit weaker than the original.
John Sturges’ classic 1960 western The Magnificent Seven made stars out of Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson and James Coburn (who all later appeared in Sturges’ epic WWII adventure The Great Escapein 1963). Sturges’ film was inspired by the Akira Kurosawa’s classic The Seven Samurai, regarded by some critics as the greatest action movie ever made. Kurosawa was inspired by the Hollywood westerns of the 50s, and, ironically, his film influenced many westerns that followed including the spaghetti westerns of the late great Sergio Leone. The 1960 film was a huge success and spawned a couple of sequels and even a short lived television series. And now we get this remake from director Antoine Fuqua (Training Day, Olympus Has Fallen, etc) who knows his western tropes and has in turn borrowed heavily from some the great directors of the genre, from John Ford through to Eastwood, Peckinpah and Leone.
It’s 1879. The small but peaceful farming town of Rose Creek is under threat from ruthless and greedy mining magnate Bartholomew Bogue (Peter Sarsgaard), a robber baron who is desperate to corner the market on all mining activities in the region. Anyone who opposes him is either viciously beaten or killed, and the megalomaniacal Bogue has assembled a veritable army of mercenaries and lawless types to enforce his will. But the newly widowed Emma Cullen (Haley Bennett, from The Equalizer, Hardcore Henry, etc) wants to stop Bogue. She approaches bounty hunter Sam Chisholm (Denzel Washington) and pleads with him to help. Chisholm agrees and sets off to round up an assortment of gunslingers to make a stand in what could well be a suicide mission. (Sounds familiar? It was a key plot device of films like The Dirty Dozen and the recent Suicide Squad.)
This time around the seven he assembles are a much more racially diverse bunch. Apart from Chisholm himself there is Faraday (Chris Pratt, from Guardians Of The Galaxy and Jurassic World), a wise cracking card sharp and gunslinger; the boozy Goodnight Robicheaux (Ethan Hawke), a sharp shooter who is still damaged by his experiences of fighting in the Civil War; his knife wielding offsider Billy Rocks (Korean action star Byung-hun Lee); the hulking John Horne (Vincent D’Onofrio, from Full Metal Jacket, etc), a renowned and feared Indian hunter; the Texican gunman Vasquez (Mexican actor Manuel Garcia-Rulfo); and the comanche warrior Red Harvest (Martin Sensmeier), who has been cast out of his tribe. This motley crew have just seven days to train the frightened townsfolk in the skills necessary to fight back against Bogue and to defend their village.
The build up to the key siege of the town is a little slow. There are several scenes of the men sitting around in a saloon and drinking and talking, and these scenes slowly tease out character details and backstories, and show the slow camaraderie that develops between them before all hell breaks loose. There is fair amount of humour here to leaven the violence.
Unlike many recent remakes that have tarnished the memories of the original film (think Ben Hur, etc), this new take on the classic The Magnificent Seven is quite good. It exploits the tropes of a traditional western in its formula. Many of the classic westerns of yesteryear explored the myth of one good man standing up to evil on the wild frontier and dispensing justice. But writers Richard Wenk (The Equalizer, etc) and Nic Pizzolatto (True Detective, etc) also effectively use the formula to explore some more contemporary themes of corporate greed, courage, loyalty, heroism, sacrifice, and even a hint of feminism that will resonate strongly with modern audiences.
As he showed with Olympus Has Fallen, Fuqua knows how to stage some exciting and spectacularly visceral action sequences. There is an early gunfight in the dusty streets of Rose Creek that is tense and well-staged, and it sets the scene for the climactic attack on the town. This rousing 30 minutes action sequence is the highlight here, a gritty and violent and superbly choreographed set piece full of gun play, carnage and pyrotechnics that doesn’t disappoint. In the original, the villainous Calveros brought just thirty bandits to attack the village; here Bogue brings a veritable army of a hundred men, plus a deadly Gatling gun, to the fray. This version of The Magnificent Seven has the highest body count of any western since The Wild Bunch.
The film looks good thanks to the widescreen cinematography of Fuqua’s regular cinematographer Mauro Fiore that captures the harsh beauty of the epic landscapes. The film also features the last soundtrack composed by the late James Horner, and the music also pays homage to Elmer Bernstein’s memorable theme music for the 1960 original.
Performances are a bit of a mixed bag. This is Washington’s third collaboration with Fuqua (following his Oscar winning turn while cast against type in Training Day and The Equalizer) and the director seems to be able to tap into the meaner side of an actor known for playing essentially decent characters with strong moral fibre. Pratt brings a jocular and easy going charisma to his role and he provides most of the comic relief. Sarsgaard comes across as the cliched bad guy with no redeeming features whatsoever, and he does all but twirl his moustache with a cliched performance as Bogue, who is filled with contempt for the poor struggling and hardworking farmers. Hawke brings some pathos and nuances to his performance as the former soldier wrestling with a form of psychological disorder following his experiences, and he is the most complex character here. Bennett’s performance as the feisty Emma reminded me a little of Hailee Steinfeld in the recent remake of True Grit.
As a genre, the western has been dead for many years despite some attempts to bring it back to life on the big screen with films like Tarantino’s superb and violent Django Unchained, The Hateful Eight, and the visually stunning The Revenant, etc. This reimagining of the classic The Magnificent Seven is a solid western, full of action, gunplay, and featuring a strong ensemble cast that should appeal to audiences.
Other Subculture Entertainment The Magnificent Seven Reviews: You can also listen to our The Magnificent Seven reviews on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #195.
This week on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Adam, Dave, Greg and Nick take a look at new release films ‘Equity,’ ‘Life Animated,’’Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Chilren,’ ‘Wednesday May 9,’ ‘I Am Not A Serial Killer,’ and ‘The Magnificent Seven’. This episode also contains interviews with Chris Pratt, Denzel Washington, Mija Gwyn (The Other Film Festival), James Hewison (Lies & Secrets – ACMI), Michael Eng (POWFolio), Rick Strom (POWFolio) and Gautier Cazenave (House Of VHS).
You can listen to The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show or download it for free from our Podcast Channel – Listen/Download here.
This weekend at San Diego Comic-Con, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige took the stage in Hall H for a panel to showcase the ever-expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe, hosted by Chris Hardwick.
These are the films that were looked at:
BLACK PANTHER is in U.S. Cinemas February 16, 2018 / Australia release date TBC, 2018
The panel kicked off with surprise guests from BLACK PANTHER, including cast members Chadwick Boseman (Black Panther), Michael B. Jordan (Erik Killmonger), Lupita Nyong’o (Nakia), Danai Gurira (Okoye) and director Ryan Coogler, making their first official appearance as a cast.
THOR: RAGNAROK is in U.S. Cinemas November 3, 2017; Australia release date October, 2017
Chris Hemsworth (Thor) from the upcoming THOR: RAGNOROK didn’t want to be left out of the Comic-Con fun despite being mid-shoot in Australia and sent a video highlighting what Thor has been up to since the last Avengers. An in-production sizzle reel gave the audience in attendance a sense of what’s to come.
DOCTOR STRANGE is in U.S. cinemas November 4, 2016 / Australia release date October 27, 2016
For the first time, fans were introduced to the cast of DOCTOR STRANGE: Benedict Cumberbatch (Doctor Stephen Strange), Chiwetel Ejiofor (Mordo), Tilda Swinton (The Ancient One), Rachel McAdams (Doctor Christine Palmer), Mads Mikkelsen (Kaecilius) and Benedict Wong (Master Wong) along with director Scott Derrickson and treated to brand new never-before-seen footage from the film.
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2 is in U.S. Cinemas May 5, 2017/ Australia release date April, 2017
The panel was taken over by the Ravagers from GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2, and Kevin Feige announced the brand new Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: Breakout! (more information below and attached) attraction at Disney California Adventure, followed by a surprise appearance from returning cast members Chris Pratt (Peter Quill), Zoe Saldana (Gamora), Dave Bautista (Drax), Karen Gillan (Nebula), Michael Rooker (Yondu) and new additions Kurt Russell (Ego), Pom Klementieff (Mantis), Elizabeth Debicki (Ayesha) alongside director James Gunn. They treated fans to exclusive footage from the film. The following pieces of art were also revealed.
More about Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT!
Debuting in summer 2017, Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! will take Disney California Adventure park guests through the fortress-like museum of the mysterious Collector, who is keeping his newest acquisitions, the Guardians of the Galaxy, as prisoners. Guests will board a gantry lift which launches them into a daring adventure as they join Rocket Raccoon in an attempt to set free his fellow Guardians. The new attraction will transform the structure currently housing The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror™ into an epic new adventure, enhancing the breathtaking free fall sensation with new visual and audio effects to create a variety of ride experiences. Guests will experience multiple, random and unique ride profiles in which the rise and fall of the gantry lift rocks to the beat of music inspired by the film’s popular soundtrack.
CAPTAIN MARVEL is in U.S. Cinemas March 8, 2019 / Australia release date TBC, 2019
As a final surprise, Kevin Feige introduced the brand new addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Brie Larson, who will be playing Captain Marvel aka Carol Danvers in CAPTAIN MARVEL.
Summary: As a small-town girl catapults from underground video sensation to global superstar, she and her three sisters begin a journey of discovering that some talents are too special to keep hidden.
Australian Cinema Release Date: N/A
Australian DVD Release Date: 24th March, 2016
Director: Jon M. Chu
Screenwriter: Ryan Landels
Cast: Justin Alastair (Esteban), Ken Baker (Donnie The Reporter), Nicholas Braun (Brad), Barnaby Carpenter (Emmett Benton), Jimmy Fallon (himself), Katie Findlay (Stormer), Eiza Gonzalez (Jetta), Ryan Guzman (Rio), Dwayne Johnson (himself), Djoir Jordan (herself), Jason Kennedy (Jason Kennedy), Kesha (Pizazz), Alicia Keys (herself), Hayley Kiyoko (Aja), Hana Mae Lee (Roxy), Juliette Lewis (Erica Raymond), Christy Marx (Lindsey Pierce), Nathan Moore (Zipper), Aubrey Peeples (Jerrica/Jem), Aurora Perrineau (Shana), Chris Pratt (himself), Isabella Kai Rice (Young Jerrica), Molly Ringwald (Aunt Bailey), Stefanie Scott (Kimber), Jackie Tohn (Rebecca)
Runtime: 118 mins
Jem And The Holograms is a film based on Hasbro’s super popular doll line of the Eighties, which had a cartoon series still loved to this day. The screenplay of this film was written by Ryan Landels and the film was directed by Jon M Chu.
The story revolves around the orphaned Jerrica who grows up with her little sister, Kimber, and 2 adoptive sisters, Shana and Aja, in a house where music is cultivated as a way to bond. She becomes an online sensation overnight when she dons a pink wig and performs a song under the name ‘Jem’.
When I heard that Jem was going to be done as a live action movie I was so excited. I loved the cartoon when I was a child. I t was the essential Eighties cartoon – full of music, colour, crazy style but with real heart at its centre.
Then I saw the trailer for the movie. What was being advertised was absolutely nothing like Jem – it was just using the name. I’m pretty sure this pissed-off a lot of people and the film’s release suffered for it.
However, having just watched the DVD release, I have to say it was not as horrible as I feared. Synergy was there as a character, albeit a little different to the original, as was Jerrica’s backstory, slightly tweaked…
So why was I shown a completely boring ‘I-want-to-be-on-American-Idol’ type trailer to advertise the movie – with almost none of the classic Jem elements and characteristic details?
Despite this, the film does offer good fan-service throughout the film; a lot of characters and elements from the show appear. Some elements are not used enough, such as the classic Jem “truly outrageous” style. This appears briefly at the start and gets our hopes up… only to be watered down when they hit stardom.
The filmmakers have created a story about finding the ‘real you’ and being courageous enough to be yourself and follow your dreams. To sell this, we not only follow Jerrica’s journey to becoming Jem via her online video, but other ‘everyday people’ are shown throughout the film with their video uploads. This is meant to be an inspirational “we are all Jem” idea, showing that everyone can make their dreams come true.
Whilst I applaud the idea and lesson, I have to say that all those videos were annoying and detracted from the narrative. More time spent ‘showing’ Jem’s effect rather than a bunch of low-quality home video scenes of people saying how inspired they are would have been more beneficial.
Overall, the story was good and engaging but suffered from lazy and predictable moments later on. At one point the band falls apart, but all is forgiven without any kind of prompting a few minutes later. Character-wise, the movie starts good and builds each of the main characters, then becomes all about Jem and the others start to become background elements.
Jerrica’s biological little sister, Kimber, is the catalyst for the events and is built up at the start. Jerrica finds clues left by their father and follows them as her personal journey and, apparently, is nothing to do with Kimber. A message from their father at the end is all directed at Jerrica, only acknowledging Kimber at the very end.
Fans of Jem will have been wanting to see the Misfits in the movie. They’re not the main antagonists as you might have hoped, but do appear in a mid-credits bonus scene (with Pizazz played by Kesha) obviously intended to set-up a sequel. Their absence did not bother me, though, as it made sense to set Jem up as a star before introducing rivals.
I hope we actually do get a sequel, but with stronger writing (I’ll do it!) and ‘style’ showing it to be a bit more faithful to the franchise – especially in how it’s advertised. I hope they make the effort to set it straight and actually make Jem ‘truly outrageous’, which she really wasn’t in this film.
A nice touch might have been to update the old theme-tune. The music was good in the movie, but it should have been more striking and utilised more than it actually was for a film about a musician. It was disappointing to see her turned into a Lady-Gaga-clone at one stage – although this could have been a device used to show her becoming unpopular when they tried to change who she fundamentally was; you missed something there, Hasbro Studios!
Performances by the cast were generally strong, given what they had to work with. At times the film did not know if it wanted to be funny or feely and could have been executed better. Our heroine played her part well but we would like to see more opportunity to be the striking character and talent that she is built up to be (more the script’s fault than the actress’).
This film deserves 3.5 out of 5, with plenty of room left to be truly, truly, truly outrageous.
Other Subculture Entertainment Jem And The Holograms Reviews: Nil
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