Kiwi actor and singer KJ Apa, known famously as the redhead heart throb “Archie Andrews” on the hit CW series Riverdale, will be appearing at this year’s Oz Comic-Con Sydney (Sept 28 and 29).
Following three seasons on the hugely popular teen drama series Riverdale, Apa has starred in the film adaptation of the young adult novel The Hate U Give alongside Amanda Stenberg (The Hunger Games) and recently in the Netflix rom com The Last Summer. He’s set to play Christian music singer-songwriter “Jeremy Camp” in the biopic I Still Believe releasing in 2020.
Apa will participate in panels each day at Oz Comic-Con in Sydney, as well as exclusive meet and greets, photographs and autograph sessions with fans.
He joins an expanding list of stellar film & TV guests attending the events including –
Marvel star Hayley Atwell known for her hugely popular and career-defining role as “Peggy Carter” in Captain America and Agent Carter
Australian actor and singer Keiynan Lonsdale best known for his role in The Flash and popular coming of age film Love, Simon
Dominique Provost-Chalkley and Katherine Barrell who play popular on-screen couple “Waverley Earp” and “Nicole Haught” in the cult phenomenon Syfy series Wynonna Earp
Anime voice actor Caitlin Glass, who has voice characters in My Hero Academia, Dragon Ball Super and Street Fighter V (Video Game); and
Voice actor Aaron Dismuke best known for his role as “Alphonse Elric” in the English dub for Fullmetal Alchemist.
Photograph and Autograph Tokens for Oz Comic-Con Brisbane & Sydney go on sale on Wednesday 14th August from 12pm.
Summary: Life isn’t going well for Scott Lang (Paul Rudd). After famously being arrested for a modern day Robin Hood crime his release from prison finds himself unable to keep down a job – a big issue since his ex-wife, Maggie (Judy Greer), and her new partner Police Detective Paxton (Bobby Cannavale) won’t give him any form of custody to his daughter, Cassie (Abby Ryder Forsten).
He finally gives in to his best friend’s urges and decides to help out with a heist that suddenly finds him being recruited by Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) to become ‘Ant-Man.’ While Pym’s daughter, Hope (Evangeline Lilly), thinks it is a bad idea soon Scott is being trained to help prevent the money hungry Darren Cross (Corey Stoll) from selling technology that is destined to be used for evil.
Australian Cinema Release Date: 16th July 2015
Australian DVD Release Date: TBA
Country: United States
Director: Peyton Reed
Screenwriter: Edgar Wright, Joe Cornish, Adam McKay, Paul Rudd, Stan Lee (comic), Jack Kirby (comic), Larry Lieber (comic)
Cast: Hayley Atwell (Peggy Carter), Carlos Aviles (Carlos), Nicholas Barrera (Ernesto), Bobby Cannavale (Paxton), Joe Chrest (Frank), Robert Crayton (Peachy), David Dastmalchian (Kurt), Martin Donovan (Mitchell Carson), Michael Douglas (Dr. Hank Pym), Chris Evans (Steve Rogers/Captain America), Abby Ryder Fortson (Cassie Lang), Judy Greer (Maggie Lang), Dax Griffin (Young Pym), Wood Harris (Gale), Tom Kenny (Hideous Rabbit), Lyndsi LaRose (Emily), Evangeline Lilly (Hope van Dyne), Anthony Mackie (Sam Wilson/Falcon), Cesar Mendoza (Gabriel), Jordi Molla (Castillo), Michael Pena (Luis), Paul Rudd (Scott Lang/Ant-Man), John Slattery (Howard Stark), Sebastian Stan (Bucky Barnes), Corey Stoll (Darren Cross/Yellowjacket), T.I. (Dave), Gregg Turkington (Dale), Danny Vasquez (Ignacio)
Runtime: 117 mins
OUR ANT-MAN REVIEWS & RATINGS:
The Marvel universe has been chugging along quick nicely for a while now. The franchise has peaked with amazing films like Guardians Of The Galaxy and Captain America: Winter Soldier and even it’s weaker films, Thor 2 etc, are films that are worth more than one watch. But now comes the film that many would consider the problem child for Marvel, Ant-Man.
So why is Ant-Man the film that seems to have been causing Marvel the most amount of trouble. Well first of all the fanboys have been all over the film, criticizing the casting of Paul Rudd (like they did with Robert Downey Jnr. before Iron Man) and seemingly being outraged that they would even entertain inserting comedy into the film (yep because nobody had a chuckle during Guardians Of The Galaxy). But like is the case with so many problem children the real root of the issue was happening behind closed doors. See Ant-Man was supposed to be a Edgar Wright film. Yes the man who is largely responsible for the Cornetto Trilogy was supposed to be at the helm, but because he didn’t fall into Marvel’s line found himself turfed out and replaced with Peyton Reed (the man who brought us Bring It On), but the good news is that despite all this upheaval Ant-Man turns out to be a pretty decent film.
Now before you go into the cinema to feat on Ant-Man be aware that the problems behind the scenes have resulted in Ant-Man being very different to any of the other films in the Marvel universe, but that actually ends up being a good thing. Gone are the epic scenes of large flying ships crashing to Earth or the destruction of a major city and instead we are left with an action packed scene that occurs in a little girl’s bedroom but will have you laughing out loud as a giant Thomas The Tank Engine goes crashing out of the side of the house. Yes it is scenes like that has Edgar Wright’s finger prints all over it.
There are things that let Ant-Man down a little, the most annoying being that Michael Pena and Bobby Cannavale are simply playing walking clichés, but the plusses certainly outweigh the negatives. The screenwriting team have inserted the much needed heart that was missing from Avengers: Age Of Ultron as both Hank and Scott try to repair the relationships with their daughters while the well-written script has allows some of the cast to bring their A-Game to the acting stakes as well.
Yes that is right everybody it seems that throughout this film that Michael Douglas forgets that he is in a comic book movie and actually turns up his acting output to that of what we recently saw in Arbitrage. Douglas is on fire here and it seems to have a carry on affect on some of the actors around him as well. Evangeline Lilly brilliantly plays a character with divided loyalty and it is Hope that much of the suspense centres around. Is she really on Pym and Scott’s side or is her loyalty to Darren Cross more than what they bargained for? She plays the double agent well and you can only hope that both her and Douglas are used more in the Avengers franchise now.
Then there is Paul Rudd, who as I previously mentioned had the fanboys baying for his blood before the film was even released. Now I will admit that I was skeptical about Paul Rudd’s ability to play an action hero, but he well and truly made me eat my words with his performance. Rudd not got buff for the role but seems to become Ant-Man with complete ease. He manages to pull off the action sequences awesomely well, while it is also some of his quick wit and one liners that make the film a please to watch. Apparently we should also be thanking him for helping the script run smoothly after Wright’s departure… so Mr. Rudd from the bottom of our heart we thank you.
So the best way to approach Ant-Man is to go into the cinema not expecting anything like you have seen in the Marvel universe to date. Yes Ant-Man has two Avengers appear (one in the main frame of the film, the other in the credits) and there are a few references to the Avengers and Spider-Man, but this is very much a film that is out there on its own. Yes this is a child that is very different to its siblings, but sometimes they make the best friends, right? Ant-Man is enjoyable enough to make you hope that the character appears again somewhere… very soon.
Summary: Based on the popular novel of the same name Testament Of Youth is a coming of age story that follows Vera Brittain (Alicia Vikander), a young girl growing up as England heads into World War I. Before the War Vera’s biggest problem is trying to get into university to study literature during a period when a woman’s studies were considered a waste of time.
Upon getting into University though Vera learns that the war is beginning to spread across Europe. Soon she finds herself right in the middle of it as her brother, Edward (Taron Egerton), her fiancé Roland Leighton (Kit Harington) and best friends Geoffrey Thurlow (Jonathan Bailey) and Victor Richardson (Colin Morgan) are all sent off to Europe to serve. As the stories coming from the frontline get worse and worse Vera decides to put her studies on hold and instead become a volunteer nurse.
Australian Cinema Release Date: 23rd April, 2015
Australian DVD Release Date: TBA
Country: United Kingdom
Director: James Kent
Screenwriter: Juliette Towhidi, Vera Brittain (autobiography)
Cast: Hayley Atwell (Hope), Jonathan Bailey (Geoffrey Thurlow), Anna Chancellor (Mrs. Leighton), Taron Egerton (Edward Brittain), Laura Elsworthy (Nurse Scott), Henry Garrett (George Catlin), Kit Harington (Roland Leighton), Alison Harris (Vad), Charlotte Hope (Betty), Colin Morgan (Victor Richardson), Jenn Murray (Dorothy), Miranda Richardson (Miss Lorimer), Alexandra Roach (Winifred Holtby), Joanna Scanlon (Aunt Belle), Branwen Summers (Vad), Julie Vollono (Mrs. Ellinger), Daisy Waterstone (Clare Leighton), Emily Watson (Mrs. Brittain), Dominic West (Mr. Brittain), Barney White (Billy), Alicia Vikander (Vera Brittian)
Runtime: 129 mins
OUR TESTAMENT OF YOUTH REVIEWS & RATINGS:
Every now and then a film comes along that leaves you thinking ‘wow… just wow.’ In the time of special effects and CGI it’s normally been something epic happening on the screen that causes that response. Sadly, it is rarely a film that totally engrosses you in both its visual beauty and immersing storyline. But that is where Testament Of Youth comes to its fore… this is a film that will stick with its audience for a long, long time to come.
While many films often lack the ‘feel’ of the novel they are based here screenwriter Juliette Towhidi (who recently also showed her skills on Love, Rosie) manages to capture all of the teenage angst and anger that the real Vera Brittain wrote in her autobiography. For once a screenwriter read the novel they were adapting and understood exactly what the writer was trying to get across to their audience. Testament Of Youth is anti-war but it is a film that is supposed to show how important it was that men did die during the conflict and also graphically depicts why war is such a nasty affair for the people left behind.
What stands Testmant Of Youth apart from the many other films that have tried to show the horrors of war is the creative styling of director James Kent and veteran television director who is at the helm of his feature film. Kent brings a real beauty with this film working with his cinematographer in such a way that at times the images on the screen feel like you are looking at paintings. Even the most hardened emotionally draining scene seems to have an air of beauty around it with Kent in the director’s chair. Perhaps what shows his skills the most though is the fact that this is a film that is able to depict the horrors of war without ever actually showing a battle. The scenes of soldiers with limbs blown off or suffering from battle shock grouped together by something as simple as a father scouring the list of war dead in the newspaper does more than enough to show the audience how evil war can be without an overly graphic battle sequence.
Having heaped praise on the film though it is only fair to warn cinema goers that Testament Of Youth is not a film that is going to be enjoyed by all. The film is slow in pace and if films like Atonement have had you snoring then it is likely you won’t be a fan of this film either. Still the positives of this film largely outweigh the negatives and the fact that this film delivers such a powerful message about subjects as deep as feminism and the horrors of war without ever feeling that it has become bogged down just shows how talented the team of filmmakers behind it really are.
Also making Testament Of Youth a must see are the performances of its cast. Taron Egerton (who most would remember from Kingsmen: The Secret Service) and Kit Harington (yes Jon Snow from Game Of Thrones) put in such great performances that they are both virtually unrecognizable in their roles. Both show that they have the acting ability to go far beyond the roles that made them household names. But the strongest performance here comes from Alicia Vikander, an actress who has been on nearly everybody’s ‘star on the rise’ list since her performance in Anna Karenina. Her Vikander out performs her age and shows that she deserves to mentioned as one of the best young actresses in the industry at the moment. With Testament Of Youth she easily overcomes everything thrown at her and delivers a emotionally powerful performance that helps make this one of the films of the year.
Next time somebody says that there are no great films made any more point them in the direction of Testament Of Youth. This powerful film delivers a strong message about war while also making the audience wish that James Kent had turned his hand to directing features a lot earlier in his career. The beauty of this film is hard to describe in words but it is enough to show that Kent is one director that has been underestimated over the years. Aided by some amazing cinematography and an outstanding acting performance by Alicia Vikander Kent has helped create a film that is worthy of five stars.
Summary: When Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) and Dr. Bruce Banner/The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) accidentally unleash the evil that is Ultron (James Spader) onto the world it is up to themselves, Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Captain America (Chris Evans) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) to re-group and once again try to save the world.
But as Ultron’s extra-intelligence helps him stay ahead of The Avengers as he prepares to destroy them and then mankind, he is also aided by the mysterious powers of newcomers Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) and Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson).
Australian Cinema Release Date: 23rd April, 2015
Australian DVD Release Date: TBA
Director: Joss Whedon
Screenwriter: Joss Whedon, Stan Lee (comics), Jack Kirby (comics)
Cast: Hayley Atwell (Peggy Carter), Paul Bettany (Jarvis/The Vision), Linda Cardellini (Laura), Don Cheadle (Colonel James Rhodes/War Machine), Robert Downey Jnr. (Tony Stark/Iron Man), Idris Elba (Heimdall), Chris Evans (Steve Rogers/Captain America), Lou Ferrigno (Hulk (voice)), Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Anthony Henry (Charlie Nash), Tom Hiddleston (Loki), Samuel L/ Jackson (Nick Fury), Scarlett Johansson (Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow), Claudia Kim (Dr. Helen Cho), Thomas Kretschmann (Baron Wolfgang von Strucker), Stan Lee (Veteran), Anthony Mackie (Sam Wilson/Falcon), Nick W. Nicholson (Dr. Taryl Jenkins), Elizabeth Olsen (Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch), Dominique Provost-Chalkley (Zrinka), Jeremy Renner (Clint Barton/Hawkeye), Mark Ruffalo (Bruce Banner/The Hulk), Andy Serkis (Ulysses Klaw), Stellan Skarsgard (Erik Selvig), Cobie Smulders (Maria Hill), James Spader (Ultron (voice)), Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Pietro Maximoff/Quicksilver)
Runtime: 141 mins
OUR AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON REVIEWS & RATINGS:
Joss Whedon finds himself in an unusual predicament with Avengers: Age Of Ultron. When he took the helm of the franchise with The Avengers he created an action film so perfect that many were labeling the best action film ever made. Now Whedon has the hard task of trying to match that with his latest Avengers installment… only one poor man can relate, poor Christopher Nolan who had to back up the Oscar winning The Dark Knight with The Dark Knight Rises. Adding more problems for Whedon was the fact that the Russo’s further enhanced the franchise with the epically wonderful Captain America: Winter Soldier.
Whedon hits the ground running with Avengers: Age Of Ultron starting the film mid battle which amazingly enough creatively gives each Avenger their own piece of screen time to show exactly what they are capable of. To Whedon’s credit he doesn’t muck around re-introducing the members of the Avengers, no if you haven’t seen the other films in the franchise… tough!!! From there the film is topsy-turvy though. Once again Whedon’s special effects team goes into overdrive with some amazing sequences, although he should probably hold back so many slo-mo shots though as they become tedious after awhile. Surely such a creative director could have thought of some other kinds of shots, especially seeing at times Whedon manages to take his audience right inside the battle with some pretty creative directional moves.
While Whedon does at least create a very creative way to place the Earth in peril and some of the film’s deep points on those who set out to bring peace to this world, the politics of war or those with a God-complex are quite thought provoking, other parts of the films will let down their audience. The mind-bending scenes that come as a result of Scarlet Witch messing with the brains of The Avengers seem to lack the certain something they need to really standout. The attempts of Whedon to make them artsy certainly didn’t work and many audience members will find themselves tuning out during them.
Also missing this time around is a lot of the humor that made the first Avengers movie so memorable. Yes there are the occasional funny moments and lines (thanks largely to Tony Stark) but nothing as good as the Hulk smashing Loki moment from Avengers. Now talking about Loki, that also raises the biggest fault with Avengers: Age Of Ultron. Loki was everything that you want in a bad guy – evil, cheeky and strong but here you’ll quickly find that Ultron is a little bit of a bland villain. Yes he is formidable and he is strong, but instead of making you chuckle his ‘pearls of wisdom’ threaten to make your brain explode as you try to think about. The logic behind Ultron is also strangely like the internet demon that Willow created in Buffy The Vampire Slayer and the giant robot that Spike and Angel tried to build in the strange series… at least Mr. Whedon is borrowing from his own material.
The other thing that is going to peeve off comic book fans as well is the treatment of Quicksilver. Now I know that X-Men is currently owned by a different company but it does seem a little weird that the Quicksilver here in Avengers: Age Of Ultron has a very different back story to the Quicksilver we now know in the X-Men franchise. Sadly, I can’t tell you though why the two different Quicksilvers in the two different franchise is going to mess with the minds of fans even more because sadly that would be giving away a major plot point of this film… all I will say though is it will completely mess with you and have you tearing your hair out.
The one thing though that does prevent Avengers: Age Of Ultron from becoming a really bland comic book movie is that this is a movie that does have some heart. Yes it lacks the storylines that have been so strong in the pervious films in this franchise but at least it has heart. The hidden family of one the Avengers that is revealed and also the budding relationship between two Avengers almost makes up for the ludicrous lines uttered to cover up the fact that neither Gwenyth Paltrow or Natalie Portman wanted to return this time around.
It is easy to see that Avengers: Age Of Ultron will frustrate many of its fans. While Joss Whedon does need to be congratulated on the epic scale of this film (although it does pale when put alongside Captain America: Winter Solider) this film simply just doesn’t front up to the brilliance of the original The Avengers. Yes the film contains love, death and violence but you won’t be remembering this film for years to come like you did Whedon’s first journey into the Marvel universe. Oh and be prepared for a bit of a morose finale that leaves the audience with more questions than it answers, keeping in mind that it has already been announced that this is the last film that will contain this line-up of the Avengers. There might be some weeping amongst true fans of the franchise.