The Guardians of the Galaxy
Perhaps the biggest gamble for the Marvel Cinematic Universe hits screens this Summer with the Guardians of the Galaxy – the first foray into true space adventure for a relatively grounded and earth-bound franchise (Thor: The Dark World being perhaps an exception). We here at OxStu are a little bit divided – the tongue in cheek tone that the trailers have set out seems to show a new breath of life for the Universe, but this could easily fall flat on its face. Bear in mind the extra levels of expectation in the wake of The Winter Soldier or The Avengers. That said; there may be no cause for concern. Early fan reception of a cut called the film ‘great’, and the inclusion of Bradley Cooper, Karen Gillan and John C. Reilly will no doubt give the film the meatiness it needs to stand up against the existing Marvel institutions. We will have to wait and see if these opinions are justified in a couple of months time. The other exciting prospect is Josh Brolin’s recent announcement as the voice of Thanos, the heavyweight villain teased as the main culprit at the end of The Avengers. Seeing him again in this upcoming film is likely to draw out new dimensions to an increasingly intricate Universe and create a buzz for the future films. Perhaps the most exciting prospect of all is to see if it all can come together in a logical manner, or fall flat on its face.
How to Train Your Dragon 2
The first film often exists on the top films of many youngsters (and adults) due to its great sense of humour and the almost unlikely warmth of Jay Baruchel in the main part. Hopefully the sequel can return to this magic, and the trailer shows perhaps a darker, more exploratative film that feels comfortable enough to push boundaries for a maturing audience. Not only that, but the spectacle seems to have increased tenfold – Dragons are now huge beasts with extra powers, chasing Hiccup and Toothless through all sorts of mesmerising landscapes. Fresh blood comes in the form of Cate Blanchett, revealed as Hiccup’s long lost mother and a counter to Gerard Butler’s loveable role from the first film as Hiccup’s father. We also get another big screen role for Kit Harington, playing a shady character Elet with his near-beautiful vocal chords. Again the reception thusfar has been relatively postive, the main response being that it is ‘more fun than Frozen’ (a difficult task by all accounts!) though not perhaps as fun as its predecessor. Either way, this looks set to be one of the best animated films of the year, and proves that, perhaps finally, film studios are capable of hitting sequels on the head without risking pulling apart an entire franchise. Let’s just hope they can continue the trend on to the third movie!
Now: In the Wings of a World Stage
The reaction to this documentary covering the collaboration between Kevin Spacey and Sam Mendes (the first real time they’ve done so since American Beauty) has been relatively mixed – many have reacted badly to the fact that, on the whole, the film is just a sequence of individuals singing each others praises. Indeed this is the risk when covering two, intricate and talented individuals – you either get glorious yet dysfunctional relationships or simply coverage of an artistic endeavour carried out by normal, nonconfrontational human beings. The attraction lies in Spacey of course, a man who has had a glorious couple of decades and the film really is his swansong as he finishes his time as Artistic Director at the Old Vic and his experiences as his legendary time as Richard III. If you want to see it for no other reason, go along to experience an exploration of the genius of William Shakespeare, done by a number of talented individuals capable of wowing audiences on a near-nightly basis.
The Riot Club
Formerly known as Posh, or often referred to as ‘that film about that club in Oxford’, The Riot Club has raised a number of controversies, most notably over questions of access to what is often deemed an elite university. No matter what the response is to these accusations, the trailer seems to suggest that, as it stands, the film is destined to be a shallow affair – fast cars screeching around underneath the Bridge of Sighs as drunken suited actors moan of being ‘sick to death of poor people’. It all just seems stagnantly reminiscent of a declining institution – the actors seem like caricatures of some of the suited residents of Wahoo on a Friday night, except without the dazzling good looks of Douglas Booth or Max Irons. There is the possiblility of a wasteful occasion for a stellar cast against, if we do say so, a beautiful Oxford backdrop. In spite of that near-diatribe, it is worth admitting we, just like many other Oxford students, will be there to watch it all unfold come September.