Michael Oakes

The Film Show: 9th August

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As summer thunders on, we’re right along for the ride as the films never stop. With the usual array of summer mega hits and titanic blockbusters battle for supremacy at the box office, as always we’re here to separate the wheat from the chaff and guide you to the right film(s) to spend your money on this week!

Our big hitting release this week is a Marvel film, but not one of the “cinematic universe” variety. Rather this is Fantastic Four, from FOX, who brought us the X-Men series among others. The most famous attempt at bringing the massively popular Marvel comic team to the big screen, if you cast your minds back a decade, was 2005’s Fantastic Four and the 2007 sequel. Both were looked upon with contempt and ridiculed by critics and fans alike, and plans for a third film were canned. Now in 2015, we’ve got Chronicle director Josh Trank’s brand spanking new re-imagining, which FOX hope will finally get the F4 off the ground film-wise. We don’t need to tell you about the controversy that has plagued this film ever since it was announced, but Chronicle was a good film and with a pretty great cast including such talent as Whiplash star Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan who starred in the fantastic Fruitvale Station, Jamie Bell who you may remember as Billy Elliot himself and Kate Mara from House of Cards, was it third time lucky for FOX and Marvel’s most famous family, in their attempt to make a truly fantastic (sorry) outing for the heroes?

Released just last week and going strong at the box office is Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, the fifth film in the franchise which spans back to 1996 (or much longer if you include the original TV series). Tom Cruise is one of the last big movie stars around in a Hollywood that prefers brands nowadays to big names, and he is a man who knows how to make cash and win adoration, none more so than in this series. In this newest instalment, Ethan Hunt (Cruise) and the IMF team must take on their most impossible mission yet, eradicating the Syndicate – an International rogue organization as highly skilled as they are, committed to destroying the IMF. With the usual series brand of humour, jaw-dropping set pieces and an ensemble including newbies Rebecca Ferguson and Alec Baldwin and returning stars Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames and Jeremy Renner, was this a worthy instalment in the popular franchise or a true mission failure?

Pixar are the absolute masters of Western animation, and they’ve struck big with audiences and critics alike here with Inside Out, following the personified emotions of a young girl called Riley (Joy, Anger, Sadness, Fear and Disgust, voiced by an enormously talented cast featuring such comic talents as Amy Poelher (Parks and Recreation), Phyllis Smith (The Office US) and Bill Hader amongst many others) as she deals with her problems in life. Did Pixar encapsulate us again with their typical brand of brilliance, or was this a misstep?

Sports films are increasingly hard to get right, with clichés all over the place, and audiences beginning to understand just how they pan out in boring fashion. Southpaw, with Jake Gyllenhaal in his incredible transformation into boxing champion Billy Hope, looks to shake that up a little, with Gyllenhaal’s Hope looking to get back on his feet after a tragedy. Did Southpaw offer something fresh in a genre that looks increasingly worn-out, or is this a fighter that runs out of steam too early?

Ant-Man may feature a miniscule titular hero, but it’s more than standing on its own in this summer’s box office clash. In the newest Marvel Cinematic Universe entry, former thief Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is recruited by Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) who tasks him to become a hero, and don the Ant-Man suit, which allows the user to shrink to the size of an ant (oh Marvel, never change) and gives them superhuman strength. Did Ant-Man overcome the Edgar Wright controversy and stand as a great lead-in to next summer’s titanic battle Captain America: Civil War?
Action comedy Hot Pursuit remains in cinemas if you fancy something a little lighter than superheroes, evil robots and Chris Pratt running from dinosaurs. The film features an uptight and by-the-book cop (played by Reece Witherspoon) who must try to protect the outgoing widow of a drug boss (Sofia Vergara) as they race through Texas, chased by all sorts of evildoers from drug cartels to rogue policemen. Despite featuring the obviously talented Witherspoon and Modern Family star Sofia Vergara, was this laugh a minute brilliance or just another Hollywood “comedy”?

Frenchman Pierre Coffin has struck absolute gold with his Minion creations, who are not only a merchandising phenomenon but are now also in their own solo film, titled, aptly, Minions. Was this the film to make us tire of the lovable yellow guys, or yet another triumph of their world domination?

Terminator: Genisys is slipping out of box offices, amid a weak box office fight that Arnie’s T800 Terminator would not be proud of. Despite earlier promises of a completely fresh take on the Terminator series, were those promises broken and what led to the rather embarrassing box office totals?

It’s still here, and it’s putting up a better fight at the box office than the dinosaurs themselves did when they went extinct. Jurassic World needs no introduction, and with the fourth Jurassic Park film breaking records everywhere it treads and a sequel already set for 2018, was this as gigantic a film as its records are?
You can listen to us in full and hear our thoughts on all the films above at mixcloud.com/LRJFilmShow (where you can also listen to our podcasts from months past and hear our opinions on the best films of the past year and beyond), and get involved with us with your opinions on films you’ve seen this week, good or great, bad or terrible, or just plain average, at our Facebook page, our Twitter page, and at the #SparkFilmShow hashtag on Twitter, and we’ll read out and discuss your opinions on the show!
The Film Show with Liam, Ryan and Joe