A Look Ahead To Cinema 2015

10 Reasons 2015 Is Going To Be An Epic Year For Cinema

If there’s one thing we can take away from this year, it’s that it’s been an incredible year for cinema, with some truly timeless gems gracing the silver-screen that will take their place among some of the greatest films ever made – especially blockbuster’s Intersellar (2014) and Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) that have made IMDb’s top 50 greatest movies of all-time.

Now however, it’s time to look forward to 2015 which looks set to be even better, thanks to some incredibly exciting releases. So check out filmreviewuk.com‘s, Top 10 for 2015 (no particular order as they’re all awesome!).

1.  Jurassic World

It’s one of the most loved film franchises on the planet, so news of a fourth installment is going to get everyone excited simply by the title alone – but add Hollywood‘s new golden boy Chris Prattto the mix, and you have a recipe for total box-office dominance.

Now, despite the plot currently remaining unknown, one thing we can pretty much guess straight away from the cast lineup, is that it’s going to be a reboot of sorts due to the absence of original stars Sam NeillLaura DernJeff Goldblum, and the late and great Sir Richard Attenborough. Yes it is a shame to not see these much loved characters returns to ‘Dinoworld’, but something tells me the franchise is in very safe hands with Chris ‘Starlord’ Pratt.

Jurassic World opens it’s doors to worldwide audiences on June 12, 2015.

2.  American Sniper

What better way to kick off a new year then with an edge-of-your-seat war biopic directed by Clint Eastwood and starring a beefed-up, almost unrecognizable Bradley Cooper.

Based on the incredible story of US Navy S.E.A.L. sniper Chris Kyle, who just so happened to record over 150 enemy kills during his years of service – something that’s almost certain to make the film a sure-fire hit…I mean just watch the trailer below and tell me you’ll still have finger nails after seeing this film when it’s released.

American Sniper will be aiming into cinemas on January 16, 2015.

3.  Pixels

With a synopsis that reads, “Video game experts are recruited by the military to fight 1980s-era video game characters who’ve attacked New York”, as well as starring everyone’s favourite Game of Thrones star, Peter Dinklage, in a giant mullet, I’d say it’s safe to presume this will be one of 2015’s most talked about films.

Oh and did I also mention that it stars Sean Bean, who has his head well and truly back on his shoulders (Oops, massive series one GoT spoiler) – Let’s just hope he doesn’t die in this one as there’s always a first time for everything!

Pixels will be pixelating into cinemas on August 21, 2015.

4.  Ted 2

He swears, he does an unscrupulous amount of drugs, and he’s hornier then a group of teenagers at the Playboy mansion…that’s right people, everyone’s favourite talking teddy bear is back.

Sadly the plot remains well and truly locked in Seth MacFarlane‘s head for now (yes a truly scary place), but what we do know is that Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis are returning, along with a few other well known individuals including Liam NeesonAmanda Seyfried, and Morgan Freeman. Carnage is almost certainly going to ensue.

Ted 2 will be swearing it’s way into cinemas worldwide from June 26, 2015.

5.  Minions

They’re yellow, small, and have managed to blunder their way into our hearts thanks to the two Despicable Me films – but now, they’re going solo.

Before there was Gru, the minions wandered the Earth in search of a master to follow, to give their lives meaning and purpose – so just who are they? Well, minions Stuart, Kevin, and Bob will take us on a journey to answer that very question.

With the voicing talents of Michael KeatonSandra Bullock, and Jon Hamm (including his beard), Minions is going to be a must-see for all you Despicable Me fans.

Minions will be causing chaos in cinemas worldwide on June 26, 2015.

6. Child 44
Tom Hardy. Gary Oldman. In a film. Together. Most of us would read this and say “Yes, I’m see that” without even reading the films synopsis.

But just in case you’re wondering what the films about, the plot of the film centers around a disgraced MGB agent in the Stalin-era Soviet Union who must investigate a series of child murders that may just lead all the way to the top of this superpower’s leadership. Put simply, Child 44 is a must-see of 2015.

Child 44 will be covertly placing itself in cinemas on April 17, 2015.

7.  In the Heart of the Sea

Ron Howard takes on another gripping true story that will likely result in most of us experiencing heart palpitations throughout our viewing of it – especially if it shares some similar traits with Apollo 13.

The premise – well it’s 1820, your whaling ship is made of wood, radios don’t exist yet, and there’s a very pissed off, gargantuan Sperm Whale preying on you and your crew…all in a days work for Chris ‘lightening hammer’ Hemsworth.

This tale of survival could very well end up being one of the surprise hits of 2015 especially with a man like Ron Howard at the directors-helm.

In the Heart of the Sea will be fighting for survival in cinemas worldwide from March 13, 2015.

8.  Whiplash

Singers, guitarists, dancers, mathematicians…we’re used to the uplifting, against the odds, making something better of yourself films centered around an average-Joe learning and realising their potential for greatness thanks to a certain talent – but a drummer? It’s certainly a new, unexplored talent area.

Whiplash follows the story of a promising young drummer who enrolls at a cutthroat music conservatory where his dreams of greatness are mentored by an instructor who will stop at nothing to realize a student’s potential.

The film has actually already opened in the US to rave-reviews, giving the rest of the world a glimpse at the greatness that’s soon to come, including potential awards success.

Whiplash in released in European cinemas from January 16, 2015.

9.  Tomorrowland

The film has already claimed a certain degree of notoriety at this years New York Comic-Con event thanks to the films star George ‘finally married’ Clooneywho publicly apologized for his catastrophic outing as Batman, in 1997’s super-flop, Batman & Robin. But none-the-less this film looks set to be one of the standout hits of the year.

What’s it about?” Well…Bound by a shared destiny, a teen bursting with scientific curiosity and a former boy-genius inventor embark on a mission to unearth the secrets of a place somewhere in time and space that exists in their collective memory.

George Clooney will be joined by fellow small-screen M.D. Hugh Laurie in former animation heavyweight, Brad Bird‘s, second live-action directional film.

Tomorrowland will be unraveling our minds in cinemas from May 22, 2015.

10.  Avengers: Age of Ultron

What better way to end this epic list, then with what’s certain to be the biggest film of the year, and perhaps even the most successful film of all-time (so long as it can knock Avatar off the top spot).

Avengers: Age of Ultron reunites Earth’s mighiest heroes when Tony Stark tries to jumpstart a dormant peacekeeping program, things go awry for the Avengers, including Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, The Incredible Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye, are put to the ultimate test as the fate of the planet hangs in the balance. As the villainous Ultron emerges, it is up to the Avengers to stop him from enacting his terrible plans, and soon uneasy alliances and unexpected action pave the way for a global adventure.

There’s nothing more that can be said about this film without my head exploding from sheer excitement, so instead I’ll leave you with this cool sneak peak courtesy of those awesomely generous people over at Marvel.

Avengers: Age of Ultron smashes into cinemas worldwide on May 1, 2015.

Film Review UK’s 10 Best Disaster Movies

With Dwayne Johnson’s latest mega-blockbuster, San Andreas, making the rounds, Film Review UKtakes a look at 10 of the best disaster movies to grace the big-screen.

Check out the list below and have your say in the comments section.

The Day After Tomorrow (2004)

Disaster-movie heavyweight, Roland Emmerich, brought us this global warming blockbuster, The Day After Tomorrow, back in 2004, starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Dennis Quaid and Emmy Rossum.

Interesting fact: The film has the biggest opening weekend gross for a film that didnt reach number 1 at the US box office.

Armageddon (1998)

Michael Bay is no stranger to big-budget blockbusters and in 1998 he took on the asteroid disaster epic, Armageddon, starring Bruce Willis, Ben Affleck and Billy Bob Thornton as a group tasked with blowing up a deadly asteroid.

Interesting fact: The NASA spacesuits in the film are genuine and the cast remain the only civilians to have ever worn them – they cost $3 million each.

2012 (2009)

The master of destruction hits the list again with 2012, another global warming blockbuster starring John Cusack, Amanda Peet and Woody Harrelson.

Interesting fact: The film was banned in North Korea because 2012 marked the 100th anniversary of the countries First Great Leader.

The Poseidon Adventure (1972)

Not to be confused with its underwhelming remake, The Poseidon Adventure makes Speed 2: Cruise Control look like a low budget college film. Starring Gene Hackman and Shelley Winters, the film won an Academy Award Original Song.

Interesting fact: Surprisingly, Shelley Winters gained 35 pounds for her role – often mentioning in the subsequent years of her struggles trying to lose it again.

Deep Impact (1998)

In 1998, director Mimi Leder tackled the ‘Armageddon’ genre with her blockbuster Deep Impact, starring Robert Duvall, Elijah Wood and Tea Leoni.

Interesting fact: Before Mimi Leder joined the project, Steven Spielberg was attached to direct.

The Towering Inferno (1974)

This entry is defined simply as a classic – starring Paul Newman and Steve McQueen, The Towering Inferno follows a group of party goers who find themselves trapped in a burning skyscraper. The old school blockbuster was nominated for an incredible 8 Oscars, picking up 3 of them including Best Cinematography.

Interesting fact: During filming, an actual fire broke out on set – being the legend he was, Steve McQueen helped firefighters tackle the blaze.

Twister (1996)

As far as tornado’s go, Jan De Bont’s 1997 blockbuster is the daddy of them all – starring Helen Hunt, Bill Paxton and the late Philip Seymour Hoffman, Twister made over $500 million worldwide and was nominated for 2 Academy Awards.

Interesting fact: Twister was the first ever film to be released on DVD.

Dante’s Peak (1997)

Perhaps not so mainstream as others on this list, but Dante’s Peak was an eary, nerve-wrangling disaster film about a volcano in a remote US town that unexpectedly erupts – the film starred Pierce Brosnan and Linda Hamilton.

Interesting fact: Before Pierce Brosnan accepted the lead, Michael Douglas was heavily linked to the part.

Titanic (1997)

By far the most successful of all entries on the list, James Cameron drama blockbuster, Titanic, remains the second highest grossing film of all time and one of the biggest winners in Academy history, having won 11 Oscars.

Interesting fact: At $200 million, the film cost more than the Titanic itself, which today would have cost around $150 million to build.

Independence Day (1996)

When you think of disaster films, Independence Day has to be one of the most iconic – the third entry for Roland Emmerich, and one that earned an Oscar for Best Visual Effects, Independence Day saw an alien invasion of epic proportions and starred Will Smith, Jeff Goldblum and Bill Pullman.

Interesting fact: Over 70 mock news broadcasts were created for the film.

Film Review UK’s 12 Career Defining Performances

Every actor and actress dreams of that career defining performance that will cement them as one of the best, perhaps win them an Oscar, and above most, ensure they’re remembered long after their time.

Having just witnessed Ryan Reynolds give perhaps his career defining performance in new film, The Voices, Film Review UK looks back at some of those most iconic and timeless performances that still leave us in awe.

Tom Hanks as Forrest Gump (Forrest Gump, 1994)

“I may not be smart man, Jenny…but I know what love is.”

This film is not only a classic in its own right but an absolute triumph of filmmaking, much of that thanks to Tom Hanks’ incredibly moving performance as Forrest Gump, a ‘slow man’ who proves that we are all capable of amazing things, no matter what our IQ.

The film won Hanks his first Academy Award and made him a household name in Hollywood – the film is also one of the most Oscar-nominated in history (13 nominations), managing to win 6 out of the 13 it was nominated for in 1995.

Matthew McConaughey as Ron Woodroof (Dallas Buyers Club, 2013)

This is a recent addition considering the film was only released in 2013, but considering the scale of Matthew McConaughey’s performance as real life AIDS victim Ron Woodroof, it has to be included.

Not on did the Texan actor win the Best Actor Oscar for the role, he also lost an incredible 47 pounds to accurately portray the character who in the 1980’s worked around the US medical system to smuggle much needed HIV medication from Mexico to those I need.

Charlize Theron as Aileen Wuornos (Monster, 2003)

Terrifyingly real. In a nutshell, the most accurate way to discribe Charlize Theron’s performance as convicted US serial killer Aileen Wuornos in the 2003 thriller Monster.

For the role, Theron gained a significant amount of weight and went through extensive facial protetic treatment every morning to look as much like her characters real life counter part. The chilling performance about Aileen’s unrelenting killing spree in Deytona Beech in the 90’s, earned Theron the Best Actress Oscar.

Jake Gyllenhaal as Louis Bloom (Nightcrawler, 2014)

Another newcomer, but it cannot be left out considering the spine-chilling performance that Jake Gyllenhaal gave as Louis Bloom, a freelance news cameraman that harbars an unhealthy obsession with crime scenes.

Gyllenhaal’s unwavering dedication to the character, which included him losing over 40lbs to show a man who struggles to pay for his next meal, earn’t the Jarhead actor an Academy Award nomination, though he sadly lost out to another man in this list.

Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man (Iron Man, 2008)

Now this may seem like a head-scratching entry to the list, but when you consider the impact that this character has had on not only Robert Downey Jr’s career but also the superhero genre as a whole, it deserves its place among the other names.

RDJ has redefined the iconic character of Tony Stark in such as way that it would be next to impossible to replace him or invision anyone else in the famous suit. He’s helped turn Marvel Studios into the biggest and most profitable movie studio on the planet.

Denzel Washington as Alonzo Harris (Training Day, 2001)

Bad-ass! The defining word for describe Densel Washington’s performance as crocked gangster cop Alonzo Harris in the award-winning Training Day.

Such was the rawness of the performance, it’s been a baseline for many actors since, though no one will be able to replicate such a complex and compelling character, one that earn’t Washington an Academy Award for Best Actor.

Brad Pitt as Tyler Durden (Fight Club, 1999)

Forgive me, I’m breaking the first rule of Fight Club…but I have to talk about it for the sake of it’s star, Brad Pitt.

To say Pitt has enjoyed a successful career would be severe understatement, but there is one film that will remain as the pinnacle of his career, and that is of course, Fight Club. Since it’s release, Tyler Durden has been seen as somewhat of a cult hero, often making lists of the top film characters of all time.

Eddie Redmayne as Dr. Stephen Hawking (The Theory of Everything, 2014)

It was a performance that only took place less than a year ago, but Eddie Redmayne’s portrayal as the renowned physicist Dr. Stephen Hawking has to go down as one of the most authentically accurate of all time.

It is certainly an incredible achievement in the art of acting that deservedly won Redmayne the 2015 Academy Award for Best Actor. There’s no doubt that this young British actors career will go from strength to strength of the coming years, but this performance will probably remaining his defining moment.

Hilary Swank as Brandon Teena (Boys Don’t Cry, 1999)

Based on the story of female-born Nebraska teenager Teena Brendon who realises he was born in the wrong body and sets about becoming Brandon Teena in a bid to find himself and explore the true meaning of love.

Hilary Swank’s performance as the transgender teen was the defining moment in her career, not only winning her an Academy Award, but also drawing attention to the social issue of how transgender people are perceived in the world.

Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter (Silence of the Lambs, 1991)

He’s one of the most frighteningly real characters to have ever graced the big screen and one that sends shivers down the spines of people the world over. Anthony Hopkins portrayal of the sinister, cannibalistic doctor Hannibal Lecter is said to be one of the greatest villainous performances of all time.

The role proved to be the defining moment of his illustrious career, helping Hopkins win a Best Actor Oscar and inspiring a host of other actors craft their own evil characters.

Heath Ledger as The Joker (The Dark Knight, 2008)

There are not enough words to describe the masterful creation that is Heath Ledger’s Joker in The Dark Knight – the performance is one of, if not the greatest, in history.

Chilling, complex, unrelenting…The Joker was near perfection in terms of it’s creation and a definite career highlight for Ledger, who’s life was cut terribly short after the completion of the film. A fitting tribute then that this career defining performance was immortalized in film history and recognized by his peers with the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.

Russell Crowe as Maximus (Gladiator, 2000)

One of the greatest performances in history?…perhaps so. Certainly one of the most memorable.

Russell Crowe and Ridley Scott brought the brutality and beauty of the Roman empire to life in a way that had never been seen before. Crowe’s Oscar-winning portrayal of Maximus, the Roman General turned slave fighter, is often seen as the ‘Godfather’ of film heroes. The film didn’t do too bad either, winning 5 out of 12 Academy Award nominations, and ranking in IMDb’s Top 50 greatest films of all time.

10 Most Talked-about Superhero Reboots

Superheroes and reboots go almost hand-in-hand when it comes to Hollywood these days – no matter the superhero, there is always a reboot just around the corner.

Check out Film Review UK‘s 10 greatest superhero reboots and have your say below.

X-Men: First Class (2011)

These two box-office hits, that have so far accumulated over $1 billion at the box-office, were reboots of the original X-Men trilogy starring Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry and Ian McKellen. Instead of re-launching the series again, filmmakers Matthew Vaughn and Bryan Singer decided to explore the younger years of Professor X and Magneto, depicting how these two influential characters became enemies.

The new trilogy stars James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence and Nicholas Hoult – one thing that’s proved to be a popular choice with audiences, is the decision to merge the new and old franchises into one, as seen in X-Men: Days of Future Past that included most of the original X-Men cast.

Batman Forever (1995)

Many at the time thought director Joel Schumacher was slightly made to reboot one of the most iconic superheroes in history, especially only three years after Michael Keaton hung up his cape after two successful outings as the Dark Knight.

Despite being nominated for three Oscars, earning $350 million worldwide and boasting a all-star cast including Val Kilmer, Nicole Kidman, Jim Carrey and Tommy Lee Jones, Batman Forever promised a lot but sadly bombed with critics after it’s release – perhaps due to it’s introduction of Robin (Batman’s less than popular sidekick).

Verdict: Success with me, but failure in Hollywood’s eyes.

The Incredible Hulk (2008)

Like Batman, Bruce Banner’s Hulk started off successfully on the small screen back in 1978, then in 2003 Eric Bana helped bring the Hulk to the big screen in Ang Lee’s blockbuster adaptation. Sadly the film bombed at the box-office and it was another five years until Edward Norton starred in the reboot, The Incredible Hulk.

Yet again though the world’s strongest superhero failed to win people over and the film only managed to earn $240 million worldwide, almost certainly ruling out any regular big screen appearance for the Hulk – that is until The Avengers.

Verdict: Not bad, but not great either.

Superman Returns (2008)

Well known for all the wrong reasons, Superman Returns was the first reboot since the late and great Christopher Reeve hung up his cape back in the 80’s. At the time it was the most expensive film ever made and promised so much but sadly failed to live up to all the hype.

Considering the stellar-cast including Kevin Spacey, Kate Bosworth, James Marsden and new-comer Brendon Routh in the title role, who seemed to have the Superman look down to a tee, the film only made $319 million worldwide.

Perhaps it’s failure was down to the writers decision not to re-launch the franchise from the beginning, but instead carry on the story from where Superman 3 ended all those years ago. It just seemed impossible to embrace the characters.

Verdict: Epic CGI but snooze-fest of a storyline.

Fantastic Four (2015) – yet to be released

It was without a doubt the start of the epic Marvel reboot-a-thon that’s taken the world by storm (no pun intended), but after the somewhat mediocre performance of The Fantastic Four (2005) and The Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007), Marvel have decided to re-launch the franchise with a whole new look.

The biggest change is the character of Johnny Storm, who up until now has been portrayed by only white actors, most recently Captain America himself, Mr Chris Evans. Now however, Marvel has decided to break down the race barriers and rejuvenize the character, who will now be played by Michael B. Jordan (That Awkward Moment).

With a sequel already confirmed before the first has even hit cinema screens, studio execs are clearly expecting a massive return on investment.

Verdict: Ask me again in a month or two.

Captain America: The First Avenger (2012)

Many are usually surprised to hear that Chris Evans’ Captain America is in fact a reboot of a hugely unsuccessful straight-to-video film made in the 90’s.

After the mouth-watering triumph that was Iron Man in 2008, Captain America: The First Avengerwas the beginning of the Avengers series that has now spanned nine hit films and over $4 billion in box-office revenue.

With a hit in the bag last year with Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Captain America: Civil War confirmed to be starring Robert Downey Jr’s Iron Man, this reboot was clearly an epic descision.

Verdict: Brilliant, epic, and awesome all wrapped up with a bow on top.

Batman & Robin (1997)

Just why?…why does this film exist and why on Earth would half of Hollywood’s elite chose to star in it?

This film was infact a reboot / follow-on to Joel Schumacher’s Batman Forever – the only reason this can’t be described as a full reboot in the fact that Chris O’Donnell once again reprised his role of the annoying and whimlish sidekick Robin. Probably explains why the film only made $200 million at the box-office.

Yet despite the horrific script and subsidized budget, the film still managed to attract George Clooney, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Uma Thurman – Clooney also recently apologized for his performance as Batman at last years New York Comic-Con.

Verdict: I shall give none, it’s just rubbish.

Man of Steel (2013)

With 300 director Zack Snyder at the helm and The Dark Knight trilogy mastermind Christopher Nolan writing the script, Man of Steel was always going to something special, even as a spectacle, we were sure to see something epic.

And in many ways this reboot of the box-office flop Superman Returns gave us just that – the story was enthralling, the special effects mesmerizing, and the cast…well what can I say?…when you’ve got Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon, Kevin Costner, Diane Lane, Lawrence Fishburne and Russell Crowe all sharing screen-time, it’s definitely going to be good.

Of course, you can’t always please everyone, and Man of Steel had it’s fair share of critics, but when you earn over $600 million at the box-office, it’s can’t be all bad – and it’s already spawned an upcoming reboot of Batman, when he and Superman square off in the upcoming Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

Verdict: Successful start to what should be a successful franchise for DC Comics.

The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)

Spider-Man actually has some claim to fame in this list for being the first superhero to successfully star in a big-screen trilogy – back in 2002, Toby Maguire teamed up with filmmaker Sam Raimi to bring the web-slinging superhero to life. Commercially the trilogy was a success, generating over $1.5 billion at the box-office. There was however a draw back – the third film left something of a sour taste for most movie fans.

Not surprising then, that with the success of Marvel’s blockbusters, Sony decided to reboot the franchise with Andrew Garfield in the title role, and in the process eliminating Mary-Jane Watson in favour of Gwen Stacey. The first film was a gargantuan success, earning over $750 million and immediately green-lighting the sequel The Amazing Spider-Man 2.

Sadly though, the second film couldn’t muster the same sort of critical praise, despite earning over $700 million and actually being a pretty decent film, especially it’s score that I still think should have received some sort of award recognition. Still, perhaps the upcoming reboot will give this popular superhero the praise he deserves.

Verdict: A great success in my eyes, shame about the lack of a third installment.

The Dark Knight trilogy (2005-2012)

The pièce de résistance of reboots – seriously they don’t come any better than this work of art. The Dark Knight trilogy, written and directed by Christopher ‘seriously needs to win an Oscar’ Nolan and starring Christian Bale as arguably the best superhero actor of all time, still is the crowing gem of DC Comics.

During it’s three installments, the franchise accumulated nine Academy Award nominations including a Best Supporting Actor win for the late Heath Ledger and amassed over $2.5 billion at the global box-office. The Dark Knight (2008) currently resides at #4 in IMDb’s top ten greatest films list.

Christopher Nolan certainly set the bench mark for reboots and it will not be easy to surpass the shear brilliance of this reboot.

Verdict: Genius, pure and simple.