4 items from 2016
Ryan Lambie Sep 14, 2016
It's the age old tug-of-war between art and commerce: movie studios want products they can sell, but they don't want them to look like something off a production line. They want movies that look and feel different, but not so different that audiences are too bewildered to buy a cinema ticket. In interviews, studio bosses and producers often talk about a filmmaker's "unique vision", and they often sound sincere while doing so. Yet the reality of spending huge sums on mainstream movies generally means that studios will often wind up feeling nervous when the cold reality of that vision becomes apparent.
If you’ve seen one cinematic apocalypse, you’ve seen them all. At least that’s the feeling conjured by “X-Men: Apocalypse,” the latest entry in one of the more reliable comic-book franchises around, this time disappointingly succumbing to an exhausting case of been-there-done-that-itis.
Director Bryan Singer pioneered the contemporary wave of superhero movies with 2000’s “X-Men,” and made a welcome return to the series just two years ago with the time-jumping “Days of Future Past.” Perhaps he should’ve quit while he was ahead. Even though “Apocalypse” hardly reps the franchise nadir (an in-joke midway through this ’80s-set pic throws deserved shade at Brett Ratner’s woeful “X-Men: The Last Stand” as one character exits “Return of the Jedi” and laments “the third one’s always the worst”), this is easily the least compelling, surprising and satisfying of Singer’s entries.
While the best “X-Men” movies are defined by their keen intelligence, »
- Geoff Berkshire
The opening of Star Wars perfectly illustrated the might of the Empire. Ryan looks at the making of the film’s classic shot...
We’re bathed in the inky blackness of space. The stars seem to sparkle as the camera tilts down, slowly, slowly, to the blue haze of a planet, its surface spanning off as far as the eye can see. John Williams’ music quietens to a murmur, allowing us just a moment to admire the serenity of the view before a ship - skinny and jagged - hurtles over the head, pursued by the sound of laser fire.
As Williams’ orchestra builds to a crescendo, another, unexpectedly huge shape looms into view. It’s our first ever glimpse of an Imperial Star Destroyer - a vast, skull-white battleship. The speed of its movement is vaguely reminiscent of a Great White shark on the hunt. Its »
After years in limbo, the rush to make a Star Trek movie suddely began in earnest on the 28th of March 1978. That day saw a lavish press conference arranged by Paramount president Michael Eisner, chairman Barry Diller and the entire cast of the original Star Trek series. Eisner announced to an assembled group of reporters that a film spin-off from the cult Trek TV show was finally going to be made. Its appropriately grand title - Star Trek: The Motion Picture.
The director, Eisner continued, would be Robert Wise - an industry veteran who was not only a safe pair of hands (he’d directed such hits as West Side Story and The Sound Of Music), but also had a proven track record with science fiction. »
4 items from 2016
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