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Director: Jon Watts Starring: Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Marisa Tomei, Robert Downey Jr Running Time: 133 minutes


In recent years, the behind the scenes efforts of non-Marvel studios attempts to make films with Marvel characters could make compelling movie material all on its own. Specifically, comedy-of-errors movies. The chaos reportedly caused during the awful 2015 reboot of Fantastic Four by director Josh Trank (and his little dogs too) is one example. The leaked e-mail fiasco showing out-of-touch exec’s attempts to make an EDM-loving, humble-bragging hero that’s down with the kids for the ill-fated, ever spin-off proposing Amazing Spider-Man series is another. The lack of financial success made by the Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone-starring Spidey movies led to an “if you can’t beat them, join them” rethink and Sony drafted in Marvel Studios to help produce a reboot, with Sony retaining film distribution rights and Marvel masters Disney controlling merchandising rights. After a popular cameo in last year’s Captain America Civil War, Spider-Man: Homecoming sees Marvel’s most beloved comics character take centre-stage once again. From the orchestral arrangement of the classic 60’s Spider-Man cartoon theme that opens this film onwards, the effort to bring the character (or more cynically, the IP) back to its roots is clear. This is a younger, more innocent Spider-Man, and the film is refreshing for that, even while the creative constraints of being part of the MCU never go away.

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Director: Alex Kurtzman Starring: Tom Cruise, Sofia Boutella, Annabelle Wallis, Russell Crowe, Jake Johnson Running Time: 107 minutes


The scariest moment in The Mummy comes before its titular monster even shows up onscreen. After the Universal fanfare stops and their globe has faded from view, the title card of the “Dark Universe” appears on screen, signifying The Mummy’s status as the first entry in yet another interconnected series of blockbusters. The repurposing of Universal’s classic monster movies into identikit action flicks to be packaged off to the international market looks like a particularly desperate attempt from the studio to get a slice of Marvel’s pie, and that Dark Universe logo and its confirmation that they are going all in on this may not be the kind of fright to provoke nightmares, but it certainly might lead to a few headaches before going to bed.

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Marvel have unveiled the teaser trailer for their latest movie. Or rather, their latest movie once Spider-Man Homecoming and Thor: Ragnarok are cleared from their packed release schedule. The teaser, released during Game 4 of the NBA Finals last night, gives plenty of exciting glances at the film and reasons to believe that Creed director Ryan Coogler has successfully put his own stamp of action and excitement into the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s first film with a black superhero as the lead.

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Action cinema received a much needed shot in the arm in 2011 with the release of Gareth Evans’s The Raid. The film, a taut Indonesian martial arts masterpiece set in one location was quickly compared to Die Hard. That film gave audiences crisp, clear and expertly crafted fight scenes in a tense and claustrophobic setting. These long unbroken sequences were a breath of fresh air in comparison to the stilted, slow, overly edited fight scenes from modern Hollywood action fare. It would be easy to compare Headshot, the latest film from Indonesian pair Kimo Stamboel & Timo Tjahjanto to The Raid. You can see the elevator pitch,  ‘It’s The Bourne Identity meets The Raid‘ and while it is indebted to both of those films Headshot is very much its own animal. It doesn’t dwell on the amnesia storyline like the former and lacks the big budget Hollywood sheen of the latter. What Headshot delivers is a beautiful, brutal, bloody, bullet riddled action ballet.

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Like us, you may have become addicted to Mad Max: Fury Road, the visually stunning, brilliantly chaotic action movie that stands as the best of its genre this decade. Perhaps it took hold of you and you resent its absence. Well resent no more, as Fury Road will return to the big screen at the end of April at the Light House Cinema, shiny and chrome. And black.

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Director: Chad Stahelski Starring: Keanu Reeves, Common, Riccardo Scamarcio, Ruby Rose, Laurence Fishburne, Ian McShane Running Time: 122 minutes


John Wick is not a character overloaded with depth, but there is something that stands out about him. There’s a moment in John Wick Chapter 2 where the rapper Common’s character tells him that he’ll make John’s death a painless one, as “a professional courtesy”. One of the stock phrases of movie assassins that the John Wick films throw out with glee. When he says this, Keanu Reeves makes a face of real exasperation. John Wick is so goddamn tired of this world of assassins and its rules and its posturing. Later a villain says that John is addicted to this life of killing, but it isn’t really true at all. Unlike most other protagonists who come back for one last job or who get pulled back in just when they thought they were out, John Wick is so done with this whole life. He really just does want to kick back and relax with his new dog. Fortunately for viewers and unfortunately for John, it seems that killing absolutely everybody is the only way to be certain that he never has to kill anyone again.

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Director: Gareth Edwards Starring: Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn, Mads Mikkelsen, Forest Whitaker, Riz Ahmed, Donnie Yen, Jiang Wen, Alan Tudyk Running Time: 133 minutes


The ambition to have a Star Wars movie come out every single year may end up hitting a point of diminishing returns, but for now the annual return to a galaxy far, far away is still fresh enough to be music to the ears of fans and lining to the pockets of Disney. No one knows quite like they do how to appeal to a wide range of demographics; though The Force Awakens definitely owed a lot of its success to the memories it stirred in fans who had been left in the cold by the prequels, it aimed and succeeded at continuing the series tradition of kid appeal, something that goes right back to George Lucas’ attempts to recreate his own childhood joy watching pulp sci-fi serials. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is unlikely to sell as many toys as last year’s film, but it should provide older fans that have grown up with Star Wars with they’ve always wanted: more of the actual wars.

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Don’t you want to see this face on the big screen?

nicholas-cage-faceoff

 

Well, that dream is about to become a reality, as Hollywood Babylon presents MONDO CAGE with Face/Off (1997) at the Lighthouse cinema on Saturday, August 13th at 10:45 PM. Cage delivers his performance here with his trademark gusto as the twisted criminal mastermind Castor Troy. John Travolta shares Cage’s limelight as Special Agent Sean Archer, the Batman to Cage’s Joker. Archer is doubly motivated in exacting justice against Troy because not only is he a terrorist, sadist and all round nasty piece of work, he was also responsible for the death of the Special Agent’s son.

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Director: Ilya Naishuller Starring: Sharlto Copley, Danila Kozlovsky, Haley Bennett Running Time: 96 minutes

The problem with reviewing Hardcore Henry is not in evaluating whether or not it is a good movie, but in evaluating whether it can be considered a movie at all. Certainly the images movie, so it has that going for it. Shot entirely on head-mounted GoPro cameras so that the entire film is seen from the point of view of a mindless killing machine, Hardcore Henry is the logical end point of critic’s saying that mindless action movies are ‘like a videogame’, openly coveting the comparison.

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