Saturday, 31 December 2016

38 Movies and TV Series to Look Forward to in 2017

2016 is FINALLY over! With everything that happened in the last 12 months, I can't wait to rip off the last page of my calendar. One big reason I am always pumped for a new year is the tons of new movies and TV series coming up. This year movies run from tiny indies to the biggest blockbuster spectacles in this or any other galaxy. Drawing up a list of potentially great forthcoming movies is far from an exact science. Here is a preview of some of the biggest film hitting theatres in 2017. 

#1 DC's Legends of Tomorrow is about to dwelve into the world of George Lucas. In the wake of the reveal that Rip Hunter is working as a director in 1967 LOS Angeles, a younger version of Lucas will appear when the series will be returning on Tuesday, January 24.  
#2 Outlander season 3 will cover all of book three Voyager. The 13-episode season will pick up right after Claire travelled through the stones to return to her life in 1948. 
#3 Strangers Things, the hit show featuring Winona Ryder and Millie Bobby Brown has settled a waiting game. As with all these kinds of shows, the internet rumour is overdrive with pieces of information flying around. Helpfully the cast has dropped a few bits of information about what might go on. 

(Tales and Animated)     
#1 The Lego Batman Movie is the new Lego movie in which Bruce Wayne must not only deal with the criminals of Gotham City, but also the responsibility of raising a boy he adopted.  
#2 Beauty and the Beast is the new live action/adaptation of the Disney fairy-tale about a monstrous prince and a young who fall in love.  

#3 Despicable Me 3 is the third instalment in the Despicable franchise, Balthazar Bratt, a child star from the 1980s, hatches a scheme for world domination.

#4 John Wick: Chapter 2 is the continuing adventures of the former hitman, John Wick.  
#5 The Lost City of Z is based on David Grann's best-selling book of the same name, The Lost City of Z is the true-life drama which centers on British explorer Col. Percival Fawcett, who disappeared while searching for a mysterious city in the Amazon in the 1920s.   
#6 Alien: Covenant is the sequel to a sequel in which the crew of the colony ship Covenant, bound a remote planet on the far side of the galaxy, discover what they think is an uncharted paradise, but is actually a dark, dangerous world. When they uncover a threat their imagination, they must attempt a harrowing escape.
#7 Baywatch is rebooting the famous series on the big screen. Two unlikely prospective lifeguards vie for jobs alongside the buff bodies who patrol a beach in California.

#8 Wonder Woman is the adaptation of the comic book of the same name. An Amazon princess leaves her island home to explore the world and, in doing so, becomes one of the world's greatest heroes. 
#9 The Mummy starred Tom Cruise, as an ancient princess is awakened from her crypt beneath the desert, bringing with her malevolence grown over millennia, and terrors that defy human comprehension. 
#10 War for the Planet of the Apes is the new movie following The Planet of the Apes movies. A nation of genetically evolved apes led by Cesar become embroiled in a battle with an army of humans.  
#11 Dunkirk is the new WWII movie helmed by Christopher Nolan in which allied soldiers from Belgium, the British Empire and France are surrounded by the German army and evacuated during a fierce battle in World War II.
#12 Blade Runner 2049 deals with a storyline set 30 years after the events of the first film, a new blade runner, LAPD Officer K, unearths a long-buried secret that has the potential to plunge what is left of society into chaos. K's discovery leads him on a quest to find Rick Deckard, a former LAPD blade runner who has been missing for 30 years.   
#13 Justice League is dealing with  Bruce Wayne enlisting the help of his newfound ally, Diana Prince, to face an even greater enemy; fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman's selfless act. 

#14 Logan is the last instalment in which Hugh Jackman is going to portray Wolverine. Sad times ahead people. It is set in the near future, an ageing Wolverine and Professor X must protect a young female clone of Wolverine from an evil organisation led by Nathaniel Essex.
#15 Kong: Skull Island is ultimately the origin of Kong Kong, starring Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson and Samuel L. Jackson.   

#16 T2: Trainspotting is a continuation of the Trainspotting saga reuniting the original characters.  
#17 The Fate of the Furious is dealing with a mysterious woman seducing Dom into the world of crime and a betrayal of those closest to him, the crew face trials that will test them as never before.
#18 The Circle is a book adaptation from Dave Eggers. A woman lands a job at a powerful tech company called the Circle, where she becomes involved with a mysterious man.  
#19 Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 sets to the backdrop of Awesome Mixtape #2, 'Guardians of the Galaxy 2' continues the teams' adventures as they unravel the mystery of Peter Quill's true parentage.   
#20 King Arthur: Legend of the Sword is the feature film version of the classic King Arthur story directed by Guy Ritchie and starring Charlie Hunnam and Jude Law. 
#21 Pirates of the Carribean: Dead Men Tell No Tales deals with Jack Sparrow searching for the trident of Poseidon. 
#22 World War Z 2' plot is unknown. 
#23 Spider-Man: Homecoming stars Tom Holland as a young Peter Parker/Spider-Man who begins to navigate his newfound identity as the web-slinging superhero. 
#24 Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets is a comic book adaptation, directed by French director Luc Besson. Time-traveling agent Valerian is sent to investigate a galactic empire, along with his partner Laureline.
#25 The Dark Tower is a Stephen King book adaptation in which Gunslinger Roland Deschain roams an Old West-like landscape in search of the dark tower, in the hopes that reaching it will preserve his dying world. 
#26 Kingsman: The Golden Circle. Harry is ALIVE! When an attack on the Kingsman headquarters takes place and a new villain rises, Eggsy and Merlin are forced to work together with the American agency Statesman to save the world. 
#27 Thor: Ragnarok' plot is unknown. 

#28 Star War VIII follows Rey after her first step into a larger world in The Force Awakens. he continues her epic journey with Finn, Poe and Luke Skywalker in the next chapter of the saga.   
#29 Jumanji is a brand new adventure starring Dwayne-The Rock - Johnson, Kevin Hart and Jack Black. The tables are turned as four teenagers are sucked into Jumanji's world - pitted against rhinos, black mambas and an endless variety of jungle traps and puzzles. To survive, they'll play as characters from the game, to beat the game and return to the real world with their lives, they'll have to start seeing things in an entirely different way.

#30 Our Souls at Night stars Fonda and Redford as Addie Moore and Louis Waters, a widow and widower who've lived next to each other for years. The pair has almost no relationship, but that all changes when Addie tries to make a connection with her neighbour.
#31 The Book of Henry stars Naomi Watts, Lee Pace and Jacob Tremblay as a single mother raises a child genius.

#32 Goodbye Christophe Robin deals with behind the scenes in the life of author A.A Milne and the creation of the Winnie the Pooh stories inspired by his son C.R Milne. 
#33 Split is directed by M. Night Shyamalan and stars James McAvoy; after three girls are kidnapped by a man with 24 dual personalities they must find some of the different personalities that can help them while running away and staying alive from others. 
# 34 Silence is directed by Martin Scorsese ad is set in the 17th Century, two Jesuit priests face violence and persecution when they travel to Japan to locate their mentor and propagate Catholicism. 

Best Movies of 2016

Another year comes to a close and once again it is time for my top 10 favorite movies! First of all, I haven't seen every single movie that came out this year, this happens every year; though this is year is very special for me and I am at least 15 reviews short than any other year since I created this blog. But the world keeps spinning so I guess, that is ok... 
This year wasn't a year for consensus in anything, movies included. There was also no greater testament to movies as a grand visual medium this year. 2016 was a highly anticipated year filled with tons of releases. We all salivated on the thought of this year. Without further do, these are the films I had most fun with this year. 

Top 10: 

Thursday, 29 December 2016


A spacecraft travelling to a distant colony planet and transporting thousands of people has a malfunction in its sleep chambers. As a result, two passengers are awakened 90 years early. 

Two passengers on a spaceship heading to a distant colony are woken up 90 years before they should be. Now they are stranded together but alone. They have to figure out a way to survive. That is the way the trailer makes it seem at least. And I will be honest, that is a movie I'd like to see. But that is not what you get. Actually, it is not even close. Chris Pratt character, Jim, wakes up Aurora. For the filmmakers it is a minor obstacle on the route to romance; for the audience, it's a deal-breaker. 

Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt have a spicy chemistry. They work well together as literal star-crossed lovers. The setting is unorthodox but the blossoming romance is entirely familiar. Though, Chris Pratt ultimately carries the whole movie. His character is far more interesting than hers, he has more layers than she has. Plus, Michael Sheen injects a welcome third perspective, laying bare their flaws.

Passengers is not just short on surprises, it is also like a castaway love story set in the world largest and emptiest Apple Store in space. This movie has opportunities to be great, there are some scenes when I think they could have made something a lot more interesting and challenging than what they settled for. However, the CGI, and particularly a zero-gravity swimming pool sequence, is impressive. Believe it or not, there are more twists and turns half a movie left after all this, but none of it is very interesting either.          

Finally, the movie keeps jerking from tone to tone until you end up feeling like you are weightlessly drifting in zero-gravity. In fact, the film can't make up its mind if it wants to stick to Pratt's comic instincts or go someplace more serious or existential. Moreover, the Titanic parallels are left throughout sometimes in explicit nods as a cheesy space walk stands in for 'flying' on the prow; and elsewhere in the film's broader structure. Much like Cameron's nautical disaster, Passengers' early love story gives way to a latter disaster flick.

Overall, Passengers is misleading at first sight and as surprisingly as it is undeniably effective. A timeless romance stranded in a space-age. A heartfelt tale of loss and love for the Gravity generation. 

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Carrie Fisher Tribute

Sadly, Carrie Fisher passed away. 

I know everyone is sick of 2016 for all its political disasters and the legends it has taken from us. Yesterday, 2016 snatched Carrie Fisher from us, it took one of the most outspoken, most insightful, least restrained voices in the film industry - and probably the world - just when we need her most. She wasn't just  Princess Leia. She was a great comedian, a talented writer, and a script-doctor. She had a way with words that was unparallelled and most importantly she took zero bullshit while also not taking life too seriously. 

Carrie Fisher was born to Hollywood royalty and grew up amid Hollywood scandal. Then, Fisher herself struggled with drug addiction and mental health issues, soon speaking frankly and courageously about both. Those experiences, though often awful, gave her writing and her performances, something else, a better understanding of human eccentricity maybe. 

The actress was someone we've "known" and loved for most of our lives. As a character, Leia proved to be so important - as an example of female agency and power, as so many people's first crush and as the butt of too many jokes about her kissing her brother. That is also why her passing feels so impactful, so wrong. Princess Leia was for most of us, our childhood hero, but Carrie Fisher was a hero for adults as well, someone who'd taken everything the world had to throw at her and emerged stronger. 

We have to talk about Star Wars. Of course, we do. But there was so much more to her than Leia. I loved watching her in movies such as Austin Powers, When Harry Met Sally or The Blues Brothers!. She had superb comic timing. In Star Wars, the defining films of our youth we are not exactly swimming in female role models. But Leia was fierce: exasperated with her rescuers rather than swooningly grateful, irritated that their half-baked plan was keeping her from her work. She is the most driven, the most committed and the most effective of the lot of them; as capable of organizing mercy missions as she is of devastating attacks. It was SO good to see her return in The Force Awakens as General Organa. She is the Rebellion personified: implacable, incorruptible and irresistible. 

When someone famous dies, and we mourn and feel the pain of a lost connection, it is because that celebrity transmitted something important into the world. They didn't just make art that we will remember and cherish, they put messages into the world in the way they lived their lives. These were ideas we needed to hear, those wild and unruly transmissions changes us - and the culture around us. From Carrie Fisher, we learned that the world will try to put you into a category and make sure you stay inside it, but you can pick up a space blaster, blow apart that tiny little cell and rescue yourself. Carrie taught all of us — but especially women and girls — that an appetite for adventure and an irreverent attitude will get you everywhere, on this planet and far beyond, and that you shouldn’t wait for someone else to write your story or lead your army. Hollywood has little use for women over the age of 25, for women who speak their mind, for women who are irreverent, and for people who are open about their mental illness. Carrie Fisher gave zero shits about all of that. Carrie was unashamedly and unapologetically herself. She was a heroine. And she wasn’t a space princess, she was a queen. (And a General.)

Whatever the future holds, we can’t say we really loved these artists and advocates unless we’re willing to help each other in the new year and beyond. We’ll show our love for those we’ve lost by following their examples and being ferocious about what we believe in, but never forgetting to be ferociously kind. We’ll make mistakes, and we’ll be honest about it, and we’ll try to work as hard as they did, never forgetting to dance and laugh and create joy when we can.

I saw this post on Twitter yesterday and this woman is right, maybe the universe is trying to tell us something. The common denominator in all the artists we lost was the unflinching audaciousness to be themselves and never conform. Let's aspire to that. Be the badass hero 2016 took from you.

"Death is a natural part of life. Rejoice for those around you who transform into the Force. Mourn them do not." - Yoda

Saturday, 17 December 2016

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

The Rebellion makes a risky move to steal the plans for the Death Star, setting up the epic saga to follow.

It takes a pair of Death Star-sized balls to release a Star Wars prequel at this point. Gareth Edwards, director of 2014's Godzilla, did it. He has this got-to-know curiosity that the most hard-core Star Wars fans have always had. And he rewards us with a thrilling adventure that's every bit as satisfying as The Force Awakens. The thing that has always made George Lucas' "Galaxy Far Far Away" so unique is its richness. Every character, every planet, every plot line and technical spec seems to have been considered. It is a thoroughly imagined universe, full of tiny details and arcane backstories. There are no answerable questions just untold tales - and unmade movies. 

This first stand stand-alone chapter in the franchise is set just before the original Star Wars "Episode IV: A New Hope". Of course, that was our introduction - our gateway - to Lucas' world of Wookies, droids, rebel heroes and imperial villains. But the thing about that movie was, more you watched it, more questions it raised. How did Princess Leia come to possess the plans of the Death Star? Where did they come from? And that one tiny missing puzzle is the entire narrative of this new instalment. 

This is a whole new stable of characters operating on the fringes of the world we all know by heart. As in The Force Awakens, Rogue One screenwriter's centre on a female warrior, driven by destiny to take on the mightiest power in the galaxy. In fact, this film is ultimately Jyn's story, she is a fierce fighter, a rallying leader and the kind of role model any moviegoing parent would want to expose their daughters and sons to. Felicity Jones plays this character with warmth and turns her into more than just a chest piece. She makes her human. Plus, alongside Jyn there is a droid named K-2SO, who is a more useful, resourceful and sarcastic than C-3PO. Beautifully designed and voiced with wit and exquisite timing by Alan Tudyk. He is the most useful of Jyn's cohort, as well as the most entertaining. However - and I can't believe that I am actually writing that - the film might lack a strong and charismatic male character (such as Han Solo or John Boyega's Finn) to balance and supply Jyn with a sparring partner. 

Though, the jaw-dropping resurrection of the late and singular British actor, Peter Cushing, who played the role of Grand Moff Tarkin, the Imperial leader first seen in 1977's original. Cushing, who died in 1994 at age 81, pops up here with matter-of-fact naturalness and complete credibility, playing the same character he did before with fresh dialogue. It is the art of CGI taken to new and perfected lengths and it has to be said that this actor dead now for more than 20 years, give a better performance than some other actors in the cast. More importantly, the Dark Lord of the Sith's appearance is more impactful than ever. Undoubtedly contributing a couple of entries to future Best Vader Moments lists and finally answering the question "Who would choose to live in a fortress with a lava waterfall?". 

Shot on a more spontaneous-feeling manner than his predecessors, it keeps the energy high and both the actors and the audience on their toes. Edwards builds up to a gigantic third act showdown. Moreover, Rogue One is loaded with allusions to other films in the franchise, without ever relying on them too much. It is fun, but the risk is to make it too elaborate and complex-to-the-point of confusing space opera, which will only appeal to the already converted. This film has undertaken extensive and very publicised reshooting and you can tell sometimes. Lastly, younger generation might be bored, confused, or both. But for the original generation of Star Wars fans who were not sure what to make of episodes one, two and three, Rogue One is the prequel they always wanted.    

Overall, Rogue One is a Star Wars film, yes. And it feels epic. But what it really is at its core is an Ocean's 11 in space. It perfectly connects events we already know by heart with ones we never even considered. Mix that with loads of actions, great effects, good comic relief and stunning locations, you get a perfectly entertaining movie.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016


In ancient Polynesia, when a terrible curse incurred by Maui reaches an impetuous Chieftain's daughter's island, she answers the Ocean's call to seek out the demigod to set things right.

Moana is Disney's latest animated film and it comes from the same creative team behind Aladdin, The Little Mermaid, Hercules, The Princess and the Frog and Treasure Planet. Moana feels like a worthy successor to Disney's most beloved animated classics while in the meantime pushing the genre into 2016, introducing a smart, diverse and convincing heroine. Plus, I don't know why but it reminds me of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker for the most part. 

The weight and core of the film is based on both of the main character shoulders and their chemistry. Dwayne - The Rock - Johnson charisma comes through, even just in the voice. At this point, he has proven that he is a real superstar and that he is here to stay. I love his depiction of Maui, he is sort of a sarcastic prick but still lovable because - let's be honest - it is The Rock we are talking about. Auli'i Cravalho is splendid, showing off her pipes with "How Far I'll Go", delivering the kind of classic Disney "I want" song that brings to mind The Little Mermaid's "Part of Your World" and Hercules' "Go the Distance". The music is, in my opinion, the best of their most recent films. Especially one which is destined to be the next "Let It Go", parents out there, be prepared, it is coming.   

Moreover, Moana offers us all a wave of girl power that we can ride and we love that. First, Moana will be chief after her father and nobody questions it. Second, she doesn't have a love interest, because she has an island to save. Third, her grandmother and mother are both strong presences in her life; in a perfect Bechdel Test fashion, they don't talk about men. Finally, she can do it all and keeps on fighting for what she believes in. As per usual with Disney animated films, the animation is out of this world stellar, with each passing year Disney is getting better and better at the animated photorealistic background, here especially the Ocean. 

Overall, Moana is a very fun and entertaining film with everything you'd want in a Disney film: great animations, good songs, good voice work, good moral core, good message and most importantly heart.