New Images for Mary Poppins Returns 

There are a lot of nervous people when it comes to the Mary Poppins sequel, it holds a special place in so many people’s hearts and rightly so. Mary Poppins was an instant classic, it’s at the top of a lot of people’s favourite films list and it stars Julie Andrews. Now, whilst you can’t out “Julie” Julie Andrews, the casting of Emily Blunt is sheer perfection. She has the eloquent English look, sound and demeanour. I’m looking forward to seeing her take on this classical character, although I feel I need to watch the 1964 original again. It’s been a while and frankly I can’t remember much of it.

The story of Mary Poppins Returns is set during depression-era London where the now grown up Jane and Michael Banks, along with Michael’s three children are visited by Mary Poppins after a personal loss. Her visit comes at a time when the family needs her help to rediscover happiness and joy in their lives. The film is directed by Rob Marshall whose previous credits include Into the Woods, Pirates of the Caribbean On Stranger Tides and Chicago. Along with Blunt, it also stars Meryl Streep, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Dick Van Dyke, Julie Walters, Colin Firth and Angela Lansbury. It’s due for release during Christmas in 2018, so we’ve got a while to wait still! In the meantime here are a few images, one official and others sneakily taken on set. 

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John Wick: Chapter 2, review

When John Wick came out in 2015, it was received with shock. Mostly because no one thought that this generic looking action film would be any good, let alone Keanu would be so badass at 50. However it was met with praise from both critics and fans due to it’s hardcore fight scenes and the stunningly well-choreographed gun battles. The fast paced shooting made for not only entertaining viewing but also showed how slick and smooth an action film can look. It subverted the genre and showed that yes, Keanu CAN act. Well, after the surprise success he is of course back for a sequel in John Wick: Chapter 2.

The film opens almost around the time that the first one ends with a high octane chase involving John Wick in a car going after a man on a motorbike, culminating in a crash. From here until he drives away, it’s business as usual. Using his own car, he goes on an all out attack as he runs over, crashes into and beats his assailants whilst barely leaving the vehicle. Arriving at his home we see what he really wanted; he pulls out a greeting card and photo of his dead wife.

For almost an hour after, most of what we see is set up. John has a marker which he must honour as per the rules of the safe house hotel known as The Continental. Wanting to retire for good, he refuses, however after being attacked at home, he takes on his obligatory and hopefully last job. John travels to Rome to execute his target and thus begins his career as a killer once more. The overly long set up once he arrives at his destination feels baggy and boring after being handed such a stunning and brutal opening. Picking his perfect set of weapons as well as having a couple of suits made feels very James Bond and at times also reminds you of Kingsman. But it’s neither of these films after that.

Keanu isn’t quite as good as he is in the first one, his take on one of his most notable roles second time round seems slightly forced. He’s good with a gun but not much else. His conversations with Winston, and pretty much everyone in Chapter 2, makes it look as if Keanu doesn’t want to be there. Whilst Ian McShane is as cool as ever and carries each scene he’s in with his laid back no nonsense demeanour, the pair just aren’t as playful this time around.

Some fans will be excited for the Matrix reunion but even that’s not particularly interesting. John visits Bowery King, played by the slightly hammy Lawrence Fishburne, whose help he needs. But after revealing a scar created by a bullet shot by John years earlier, why would he help him? In exchange for something he’s offered in return? What is it? We never find out. Perhaps something that’s being saved for the sequel but it’s one of several plot points which is unforgivably overlooked. The addition of the wonderful Ruby Rose should have been a stroke of genius had she been able to speak. She communicates through sign language although it’s never apparent that she’s deaf. Essentially she’s boiled down to a pretty face in a suit with a gun.

Directed by Chad Stahelski, the visionary behind the first film, he seems to have forgotten that the best parts of John Wick consisted of Keanu slickly shooting people. Whilst there’s plenty of that there (I won’t tell you how many people he kills in Chapter 2 but, wow!) there are far too many slow paced sequences which adds to the overlong running time. Setting up a film like this shouldn’t take this long and Stahelski knows that. The rule of a sequel is always to go bigger, and it did. Unfortunately.

Altogether John Wick Chapter 2 is nothing like it’s predecessor. It’s heavier, longer and at times just plain boring. With another sequel in the works also to be directed by Stahelski, it’s yet another film turned into an unnecessary trilogy.

3 out of 5.

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War for the Planet of the Apes trailer and images

The success of the rebooted Planet of the Apes came as a huge surprise to critics and audiences alike. The first two films managed to capture the human element of what it would truly be like to care for a primate and then see things change in a way no one could have predicted. But they also made you care for the lives of the apes themselves, especially when it came to all things Caesar related.

With all the fuss this week over a certain Marvel trailer and a small amount of people getting excited about Michael Bay blowing things up once again, it seems this hasn’t received the attention it deserves. Well, here are the images and the trailer which were all released this week. I’m very excited for this film, having loved the previous two films I have high hopes for this. It shows an all out war between the two highly evolved speeches where it’s clear that there can only be one winner. The film stars Woody Harrelson, Judy Greer and Andy Serkis who has once again taken up the motion capture role. It’s due for release in the UK on 14th July 2017.

Images

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Trailer

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The Secret Life of Pets 2 is coming in 2018

Like many, I loved The Secret Life of Pets. It was funny, portrayed these animals brilliantly and it was kid friendly with a good mix for the adults. (Anyone else clock that Breaking Bad reference, superb!) After it did better than expected, earning more than $300m at the US box office and an estimated $400m+ worldwide it’s no real surprise that there’s is a sequel in the works.

The Secret Life of Pets 2 is already on its way, with a release date penciled in for 2018 which is surprisingly quick for an animated film. Perhaps this was already in the works and they have just announced it today. Coming back for the sequel includes one of the directors Chris Renaud and screenwriter Brian Lynch. Who will return from the rest of the original cast and crew remains to be seen but this is a film which is two years away and I’m already exci… BUTTERFLY! BUTTERFLY! BUTTERFLY!

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