Top 10 Most Exciting Films of 2017 (First Among Lists)

4 01 2017

star-wars-episode-eight (Lucasfilm - 2017)

Jasper Fforde is a British bestselling Author whose selected works include the The Eyre Affair, The Last Dragonslayer and Shades of Grey.  He is something of an inspiration to me and someone I have not just met and had books of his signed, but have had the fantastic opportunity to have my work looked at and even edited by him; it was a wonderful opportunity and moment for me and still ranks as one of the best moments in my writing career to date. Anyway, I have been thinking a little bit about Jasper Fforde recently, mainly because of The Last Dragonslayer being shown on Sky 1 on Christmas Day, a book which was one of my favourite reads a couple of years ago.

The Last Dragonslayer (Hodder and Stoughton - 2011)

Anyway, to get back on topic, one of the books in his Thursday Next series is called; First Among Sequels. Well before I began writing this; (having awoken from a small nap on Boxing Day) I thought that it could be fun to give a personal touch to one of my early blog posts, in particular one of the early Top 5-ish posts where I talk about last year and this year in films. I was thinking that I should call it First Among Lists. Then I thought that this could be rather confusing for anyone who came along looking for a post on films, as the tile does not suggest anything along those lines. Then I thought; ‘why not’, and added it in brackets after writing this sentence. See. Just thought I would do something a bit more fun and a lot less like written uniform.

split (Universal Pictures - 2016)

2016 has passed, and 2017 has begun. Yes, it’s that time of year when we can break those freshly made resolutions and convert the newly acquired weight’s beach into a clothes horse. I prefer not to make such resolutions as I don’t see any real point in them. Why not, instead of making pathetic New Year’s Resolutions which you’re not going to complete, find something to look forward to instead, like; I don’t know – movies to be released this year? There are quite a lot of good-looking films to be released this year, including the possibility of a remake of The Empire Strikes Back, something to look forward to for many I’ll bet. As is something of an annual tradition for me and my blog now, I have had a good look through the (Wikipedia) movie release schedules and found a whole load of good-looking films to look forward to this year, and am keen to share this information with you all, including which are the Top 10 films I personally am looking forward to. Now there is quite a lot this coming year I have found, and not all could end up on my Top 10, so I just want to give a shout out to the following films: Wonder (the book is really good), King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, Alien Covenant, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, Geostorm, Despicable Me 3, Split and The Great Wall. If there is anything you in particular are looking forward to this year but is not mentioned on here, please feel free to leave a comment and let me know; but for now, here is what I am looking forward to this year.

dunkirk (Warner Bros - 2017)

10. Dunkirk – Films set during World War II don’t really get my interest. World War 2 is an important event during the entire history of this planet of course, but the use of the subject matter in the media I feel has been rather overdone; you only need to look at Video Games set during WW2 to see what I mean. Why am I interested in this then, well because Christopher Nolan is directing it, and I feel that that is a good a reason as any to not write it off as of yet. A trailer has been released which I have yet to give a proper look at, and will probably do so when I edit this post in WordPress, the one thing we have to hope for of course is that the film is done right, and does not replace the British, Belgian and French Soldiers with American Ones for the sake of the film (America was actually still one whole year away from joining WW2 during the events of the Dunkirk Evacuation).

return-of-xander-cage (Columbia Pictures - 2017)

9. XXX: Return of Xander Cage – I am surprised how long it has taken to get this film made, as this should have been done nearly 10 years ago. The first Triple X film starring Vin Diesel, Marton Csokas, Samuel L. Jackson and Asia Argento was a film I really liked and was hoping for a sequel. A sequel was what we got, but without 3 of the previous mentioned cast members, try to guess which ones. The first one was a unique blend of modern and traditional spy films with the added bonus of extreme sports and stunts, creating what I think is still quite a cool little film. While this new one may be missing Asia Argento (and Csokas of course for those who have seen the original), I still feel quietly excited by this, and hope that the juices that flowed in the original will blossom once more and possibly create an interesting franchise; 14 years late.

thor-the-dark-world (Marvel Studios - 2013)

8. Thor: Ragnarok – The first Thor film was something of a surprise to me, as I had no idea what to expect, but absolutely loved. The Marvel Cinematic Universe has the feeling about it that it might have begun to start to come to a close as the series for one feels like it’s beginning to drag and feature less of its more prominent characters. I do feel sort of glad though that Thor gets one more solo outing before that happens, but it does come with a bit of un-nerve. I have not really been tracking its production, but it feels wrong that Natalie Portman is not going to be in it. I don’t know as to the why she is not in it, but when you have been using two previous films to create a romance between two characters, only for one to leave with no real reason and probably to be replaced, I feel that is something of a bad idea, because, that previous romance has been developed, this new one won’t be to an audience point of view and will come across as more confusing, than heart-warming. It has been done before, just look at Transformers: Dark of the Moon as an example. Anyway, I still have hope for Thor, as I want it to be just like the previous two films; proper fun, enjoyable films. While the love life maybe completely in the air, what isn’t is the male cast which still includes Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Idris Elba and Anthony Hopkins, as well as newcomers to the Thor films in Avengers regular Mark Ruffalo, and more interestingly; Jeff Goldblum.

war-for-the-planet-of-the-apes (20th Century Fox - 2017)

7. War for the Planet of the Apes – The new Planet of the Apes film series has become one of the standout heavyweights of cinema, and has achieved this with only 2 films released so far. Rise of the Planet of the Apes was a wonderfully thought out and brought together film which created truly marvellous moments (including the death of Draco Malfoy), this continued on with Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, which set man and ape against one another in a brutal fashion while also weaving in a thought-provoking plot. Now, things are set to get even deeper, as audiences have a heavy minded choice to make, as they decide whether to fight with humanity, or with the apes in a battle to decide who will be the new dominant species. Regular ape cast members are set to return, while humanity is represented by former District 12 Winner Woody Harrelson…..should be pretty interesting.

the-shape-of-water (Bull Productions - 2017)

6. The Shape of Water – In all honesty I don’t know much about this film. Wikipedia says its: “An other-worldly story, set against the backdrop of Cold War era America circa 1963”. Why do I take an interest in this film you ask? Because Guillermo Del Toro is directing it! While it’s plot is currently vague with not much known about it other than production details including cast members such as Sally Hawkins and Doug Jones, it is hard to expect what it could be, but considering what this film sort of suggests, part of me wonders if this could be Del Toro’s next Pan’s Labyrinth?

the lego-batman movie (Warner Bros - 2017)

5. The Lego Batman Movie – When I went to see The Lego Movie, it was clear to me who the real star of the show was: Batman (voiced by Will Arnett). I loved the portrayal of Batman in the Lego movie, just could not get enough, so was super excited when I found out that he was getting his own movie, and this year it gets released. I can still hear his awesome self-crafted theme tune going through my head right now. Have seen a couple of trailers so far, and it’s hard to work out where it is going or what it is going to do, but as long as Batman is the Lego Movie Batman (which is by far the best Batman to date), then it should be awesome (pun intended).

Power Rangers (Lionsgate - 2017)

4. Power Rangers – Is it excitement or hope why I have put this film so high in this list? I am not going to get too detailed here about this; I made my views very clearly detailed back in September. What I do want to say is that I am excited but still very nervous about the Power Rangers movie due for release in the coming months. The film is not too far from release and the trailer does look pretty promising, but given what we have seen in the past when Power Rangers have taken to the big screen, I think my nerves are a reasonable reaction. I do want this film to work, and do feel that in the right hands and with the right execution, this film could become a worthy rival to the Transformers film series. The trailer and shots from production do look pretty good, but I don’t think any of us who intend to see this film can really hope to relax until this film actually gets released, then we can find out if a third time can be some kind of charm for the Power Rangers.

transformers-the-last-knight (Paramount - 2017)

3. Transformers: The Last Knight – I have been a fan of the Transformers films from day one. It is a series I have enjoyed throughout and have continued to do so to the present day. When Age of Extinction came out in 2014, I was unsure of where the series was heading for, but was blown away by a powerhouse of a film, my favourite entry to date and have been super excited to hear there is not just going to be a sequel, but also returning with the fantastic new cast of Extinction. While Nicola Peltz is a no-show at current, Mark Wahlberg, Stanley Tucci and Josh Duhamel (from the first 3 films) are all confirmed for what is so far looking to what could be the most ‘confusing’ entry in the series to date (and I can’t help but wonder if the title is a reference to something that happens in the film, or is a reference to the status of the series director).

kong-skull-island (Legendary Pictures - 2017)

2. Kong: Skull Island – Soon after the release of Godzilla in 2014; Legendary Pictures announced that they were going to make some more Godzilla films, as well as possibly creating a shared universe which would also include King Kong. Well; King Kong is set to return this year with his very own reboot, as a stellar cast of actors including (but not limited to) Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson and John Goodman decide to explore an uncharted island occupied by a variety of horrific monsters, all of it overseen under the might of the Great Ape known mainly as KONG. So far the film is looking really good; Kong’s design especially looks terrific and while details of the story are still relatively unknown, the current premise looks pretty cool. How it will turn out is another thing, but so far, I am really excited for this one (let’s just hope Peter Jackson didn’t accidentally walk onto the set during production).

logan (20th Century Fox - 2017)

1. Logan – A lot of things have happened in cinema over the last 17 years, but one of the very few constants is the portrayal of Wolverine in the X-Men Film Series. Since the series began, Wolverine has been portrayed by Hugh Jackman, and has helped not just kick-start his movie career, but made him a household name. “But all good things must come to an end” many pessimistic people have said, and this appears to be true for the relationship between High Jackman and Wolverine, but the animal is not going to bow out without one last bloodbath. Set for release this year: Logan looks to tie up the loose ends of the series so far, as the X-Men head to bold new directions (especially with Deadpool looking set to become the series main star). Expect possible tears, as well as a lot of blood as Wolverine bows out in more ways than one, delivering potentially his final chapter, with support from his long-time friend and series heavyweight Patrick Stewart returning once more to play Charles Xavier, as they face one last enemy together, possibly in the rumoured form of Mr. Sinister.

GENEPOOL (Well that is my list, what movies are you looking forward to this year?).





Why A Utopia Wouldn’t Work – Æon Flux

12 02 2014

Aeon Flux (MTV FIlms - 2005)

A perfect life, that’s what everyone thinks of a Utopia as. A place where is no hate, or crime, or murder. It’s the kind of life, and civilization that everyone would want to be a part of (except possibly a dictator). But, how would you know that life is actually like that, how would you know that everything was fine. What is to say that while life would be great, that deep down, in control, the civilisation was being run by a cruel dictatorship, or something else more horrifying was at work, just like in Aeon Flux.

AF2

Aeon Flux (or Æon Flux as the poster title reads) is a 2005 film directed by Karyn Kusama, starring Charlize Theron and Marton Csokas. Produced by MTV Films and Lakeshore Entertainment in collaboration with Paramount, the film is based on a series of animated films by Peter Chung from the 1990’s shown on MTV also called Aeon Flux.

AF4

The film opens with a setting stating that in 2011 Ninety Nine percent of the world’s population had been killed by a pathogenic virus (It’s now 2014, so I think we’re safe). A cure was later found by scientist Trevor Goodchild. The remains of humanity live in peace on the last city on earth, Bregna and the Goodchild dynasty of scientists, rules for 400 years. The Relico is built; a Giant Zeppelin or Dirigible like thing that travels through the sky of Bregna to pay tribute to those who had died. But life, while idyllic, has problems. People keep disappearing, unexplained, and everyone suffers from bad dreams. Not wanting to be ruled by The Goodchild’s anymore, a resistant group known as the Monicans aim to bring them down. Aeon Flux (Charlize Theron) is one of them. She receives information from The Handler (Frances McDormand) through telepathic technology, and is asked to take down their surveillance equipment, meaning that she can’t have dinner at her sister Una’s (Amelia Warner) house. Aeon takes down the surveillance station with ease before going to her sister’s house, to find her dead, because the police thought she was a Monican.

AF3

Aeon is given a new mission, to kill Goodchild. She arrives at the limit of the parliament area and is meth by Sithandra (Sophie Okonedo) who has hands instead of feet. Through great athleticism they are able to bypass the security measures and reach the building. Inside, Aeon creates some metallic pebbles from her ring and places them on the floor around her. In the parliament meanwhile Trevor Goodchild (Marton Csokas) is leading a meeting of those in charge with his brother Oren (Jonny Lee Miller) and someone called Giroux (Paterson Joseph). They discuss the Monican threat before Trevor goes off to prepare a speech. Aeon finds him and is about to kill him, when Trevor calls her Katherine. Aeon stalls before being knocked out. Aeon wakes up in a cell and is met by Trevor. Aeon asks about the name that he called him, and flashbacks come to her of them meeting before somewhere, but she can’t remember it. She is offered some water, but she takes a sample of it before whistling through a hole in the ventilation system, this causes the pebbles she dropped to turn into ball bearings, which go to her cell and blow a hole in the wall. She escapes, but when she goes to see Una’s ex Claudius (Nikolai Kinski) he tells her, that the liquid is a message. Aeon sees the message, it’s from Trevor. She goes to see him, and blames him for her sister’s death, even though he states he knows nothing about it. Memories return to her of him and her, and instead of killing him, makes love to him.

AF5

Aeon wakes up to find Trevor gone, she quickly dresses and heads into his study, where she finds some kind of teleportation harness. Using it she finds his Laboratory, and a picture of herself hidden in it. She has a brief encounter with Trevor’s assistant Freya (Caroline Chikezie) before escaping. While listening to Goodchild’s notes that she stole, she hears her sister’s name and says he needs to make a visit to the Relico. Sithandra returns and threatens to kill Aeon for failing in her mission. Aeon, tries talking to her, before knocking her down and tying her up. Aeon goes to the Relico and finds a system of high-tech computers run by some mysterious, ghostly figure known as the Keeper (Pete Postlethwaite) who greets her. Using the system she finds out that her sister Una has been reborn as someone else. Trevor’s fling with Aeon has been discovered and is considered as a criminal, he though finds Aeon at a stranger’s house, whose new baby is actually Una. Trevor tells Aeon that the cure for the disease 400 years previously had a side effect which meant that only one new generation could be born. Since then the entire human race has survived on Cloning. When someone dies, nine months later they are reborn under a new identity and the Relico was built to conceal this from everyone else. However Trevor has tried to cure this problem, all of his other tests were unlucky, but Una became pregnant on her own, but was killed by Oren because he wants to live forever.

The Monicans declare Aeon a traitor and go to rescue Sithandra. Oren kills Claudius and then his soldiers go to attempt to kill Aeon and Trevor. They both manage to flee through the city streets and the underground railway system. Trevor attempts to retrieve his research notes, but his lab is destroyed. Aeon says that they need to destroy the Relico so that humanity can continue. The two of them get cornered in a pincer between the Monicans and Oren’s soldiers. Oren tells Trevor that he wanted to get rid of Aeon’s original DNA to keep his mind on track and says that it was not just Una that got pregnant, but others have outside the test’s and he had them killed to keep the regime going. Aeon convinces the Monicans to ignore the Handler, and they help Aeon. Oren is killed in the action but not before he kills all the Monicans. Trevor is met by Giroux who states that they are not Anarchists and give rule back to Trevor. Aeon goes to the Relico and meets with the keeper who states it was him who kept her DNA, knowing that she was needed. Aeon destroys the Relico, and it crashes into the City wall exposing the city to the plant life beyond instead of the wasteland they people were told of. A final scene shows Aeon and Trevor back before the virus, seeing each other for the last time in Paris before the recent events.

AF6

The world of Aeon flux is amazingly and beautifully constructed. The city looks like a modern metropolis with essences of beauty. The lights and colours that are shown, particularly during the night sequences are absolutely beautiful, when you watch this film, you sometimes need to look in the corner of your eye or screen to enjoy them, but it’s worth it. If it was a real city, I would love to visit it. Other areas of the world such as the style of clothing look more like regal dresses from Victorian times; just more advanced in years. The technology of the world is another point as its smaller showing the advancement of technology as time passes, but it still has that appealing look of it, so it’s not alien despite its curiosity. There is also an element of nature about it all, such as the use of raindrops as surveillance, and, trees with pods as turrets.

AF8

It is interesting to see how the civilization is run. The government is a group of scientists, so they are taking things seriously as to how they survive and talk with reason (or some where Oren is concerned). It looks a lot like the Ancient Japanese Emperor God system where the leaders of the country were revered by the people, but hardly (if at all) seen. The Relico is a nice touch, it has this curios appeal about it, but as the people are suppressed into what it really is, the mystery evaporates, but you sort of know that there is more to it than that.

AF7

Aeon Flux’s cast are a mix of almost hit and misses with some people standing out and others feeling more like fillers. Those that do stand out, and stand out well are brilliant in the parts they play. Paterson Joseph for instance leads a strong part and when he is on-screen, you get a brilliantly played part, which is a character you wish you could see more of. His character is that of more of a voice of reason for the integrity of the society, and while he does have his own strong opinions as to the current situation, he has great respect and understanding for Trevor Goodchild. In a perfect world, it should be him in charge instead of Oren when he takes over. Sithandra meanwhile, is an interesting character as in she is an assassin much like Aeon, but seems to be more wild in her approach if somewhat single-minded. Una, in my opinion, should have had more of a part in the film. While she is necessary to die for the drive of Aeon, there should have been more of an appearance to begin with so that the audience could connect more with both Aeon and Una’s death. It’s also great to see Pete Postlethwaite in action. While his part in this is very odd to say the least, he plays it well and is an example of how diverse an actor he was.

Pete Postlethwaite, Sophie Okonedo, Amelia Warner and Paterson Joseph

Charlize Theron is a great Action Hero. Her part suffers from the death of her sister, but is still able to do her duty. She takes a third person view of the world, seeing it as she sees it and as a result can tell that everything isn’t as it seems, while others would probably not see it. it is due to this that makes her mind vulnerable to Trevor, as she gets repeated flashbacks to him. While the athleticism part of the role can be overdone in some sections, it is different to what others might do such as maybe James Bond who doesn’t have that kind of athleticism, she still has gadgets though. Her dark look is also one of her more key points as it makes her stand out to the viewer as to what she is, she has a dark demeanour but this could be related to something in her past perhaps, something yet to be explored, but is good at keeping it and herself hidden, like a true assassin. I look forward to the possibility of her playing roles like this in the future (maybe a part in a possible sequel to SALT).

Charlize Theron

Marton Csokas is one of the finest and most diverse actors of the last decade, easily one of the best around today. His character is seen by the Monicans as the harsh ruler, but generally he is a nice person with his mind focused on what needs to be done for the world to continue. He can see the problems, and he tries to raise the issue to the others but finds it hard not to be swayed by his brother. His love for Aeon though keeps him going, gives him hope, and that keeps his drive going, the hope that he might see her again. An enjoyable character played by an amazing actor.

Marton Csokas

Aeon Flux’s soundtrack (produced by Graeme Revell) is a bizarre mix of ballads and techno. During some of the faster sequences such as action or a chase, you would have this fast paced techno style of music. The music works for those scenes, but it’s weird that the pieces change from them to these sweeping, sometime romping but pleasant ballads. While some of these rack up the tension as they go, most of the time you don’t notice them, well, until the end of the film during the credits. Some of The Prodigy wouldn’t go a miss though.

While the film does find itself hard to get going in the beginning, once you get to about halfway through, it keeps going at a pace that works well. I do think though that Trevor Goodchild is revealed a bit too soon, and should be first seen when Aeon finds him, gives a sense of surprise as to who he is instead of going behind the scenes. Some of the film also feels a bit rushed going from point A to point G in a short amount of time. If the film was just a little bit longer it could compensate this quite easily meaning that it would be more of an enjoyable experience for everyone, enjoying the scenario, setting and characters that little bit more. One of its more confusing parts is, it’s spread of time, as Una is killed but instead of taking nine months to be born, is born the next day, seemingly. While I have heard people describe this film of being mad, to which it is in some places, it is a thoroughly enjoyable action film with essences of conspiracy throughout, and when these are revealed, it’s only just a scratch, and the amount of chaos that ensues because of this is well presented as in, this is what will most likely happen if Anarchy suddenly ensued in a perfect society. So while to the eye it may look very bizarre, Aeon Flux is an amazing action film, with a good cast, interesting music, and a beautiful setting.

GENEPOOL








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