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Tag Archive: Studiocanal


Review by C.J. Bunce

Oscar-winning filmmaker Nick Park is back with his next entry in Aardman Animations’ ingenious world of classic stop-motion animation.  The family comedy Early Man takes audiences back to the city of Manchester, England, at the dawn of the Bronze Age.  In this slapstick look at history, cave men created football (American soccer) from a fallen meteorite.  The sport fell out of favor, but was picked up again and embraced in the early Bronze Age by a city of moderners, but the cave men are still around and have one chance to save their world if they can only beat the Bronze Age team at the game.  Unfortunately it’s a group of bumbling early humans who must learn the sport and take on a group of arrogant professional players.  But it’s in the genes of the cave men, so amid a non-stop volley of sports metaphors, tropes, and jokes, the cave men have a go at it.

Leading the team and the story is Dug, voiced by Eddie Redmayne (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them), along with his companion, an eager early-era wild boar named Hognob, voiced by the film’s director Nick Park.  The duo make for a solid homage, albeit a prehistoric incarnation, of Park’s famous Wallace & Gromit.  The villain in the tale is Bronze Age leader Lord Nooth, lover and hoarder of all things bronze, especially bronze coins.  He’s voiced by a nearly unrecognizable Tom Hiddleston (Thor: Ragnarok) playing an over-the-top, snooty opportunist in full-on Monty Python comedy style.  Game of Thrones and Doctor Who actor Maisie Williams offers her own voice acting talent as Dug’s new friend Goona, and Timothy Spall (Harry Potter series, Alice in Wonderland, Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams) is Dug’s good-natured and encouraging leader, the firmly about the old ways Chief Bobnar.

Little kids will laugh at the silliness of the characters and adult U.S. anglophiles will understand most, but probably not all, of the British comedic references.  And there are many.  Soccer fans will pick up on references to the sport, to Manchester United, zebra crossings, and puns that will work for fans of any sport.  Want to see why Stonehenge was built?  Ever seen the genesis of the electric razor?  The film has already opened to positive reviews in the United Kingdom, but does not arrive in theaters in the States until later this week.

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terminator-board-game-banner

You still have 12 days to get in on what has become a fully funded Kickstarter campaign for a new tabletop roleplaying game.  Half wargame, half tactics game, The Terminator: The Official Board Game is an asymmetrical strategy game in the making for 2-5 players played across two game boards: one in 1984 and one in 2029.  It’s all based on the original 1984 science fiction classic, James Cameron film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger.

One player takes control of all of Skynet’s forces, including Hunter Killer machines and Terminator cyborgs.  The rest of the players take the role of the human resistance, like Sarah Connor and Kyle Reese, struggling against the impossible odds of the machine uprising.  Each of the two game boards play differently: 2029 focuses on light troop and resource management in a lopsided battle for dominance.  1984 focuses on personal missions with high stakes and intense pacing.  Missions arise through the course of gameplay, and have players make decisions in 1984 that will affect the future, erasing and adding components in real time.  You can download and try your own paper version of the game now, including game boards, game cards, tokens, and rules at this link.  Take a look at a full half hour video of gameplay below.

term-card-a    term-card-b

In well under a month since the Kickstarter began, the crowd-funding campaign was full funded.  A wide variety of game purchase options remain available, as well as great perks for donors.  Check out all the options at the The Terminator: The Official Board Game here.

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Public Morals gangsters

Timothy Hutton.  Brian Dennehy.  Christopher Eccleston.  Paul Bettany.  Neal McDonough.  Tom Hardy.  David Thewlis.  Tara Fitzgerald.  Robert Knepper.  Chazz Palminteri. 

That’s a pretty impressive roster of actors taking to mobster stories this year, in only two productions.  One a television series, the other a big screen release.  What draws us to gangster stories anyway?  Even before the film classics The Godfather and The Godfather Part II, Hollywood was pumping out–and audiences were devouring–movies about gangsters back to black and white pictures starring screen legends like James Cagney and Humphrey Bogart.  More recent, modern classics like Goodfellas and Donnie Brasco have defined what we all look for in a mob story.  Coming 2015 releases continue to look at this popular sub-genre.

Tim Hutton Public Morals

First up is Public Morals, an in-your-face, no-holds-barred series showing all the ugliness of a 1960s New York City, and a police division with corrupt a corrupt force led by show creator and star Edward Burns.  Public Morals is TNT’s latest effort to produce a show to compete with the sex and violence you’d find on HBO or Showtime.

You’ll find top-notch genre actors Hutton, Dennehy, McDonough, and Knepper on this series.

Tom Hardy Legend poster

Next up is a British movie, Legend, which tells the true story of twin brother mobsters Reggie and Ronald Kray, played by The Dark Knight Rises and Mad Max: Fury Road’s Tom Hardy.

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Fassbender Macbeth

Henry V is probably the best of William Shakespeare’s dramas adapted for film, garnering for director and lead actor Kenneth Branagh two Oscar nominations.  For the bloodiest of Shakespeare’s plays, Michael Fassbender (Inglourious Basterds, X-Men franchise, Prometheus, Jonah Hex) will take the crown as the title character in this year’s Studiocanal production of Macbeth.  Oscar winner Marion Cotillard (The Dark Knight Rises, Inception) will take on the prized role of Lady Macbeth.

From the first trailer released for the latest Macbeth, we can see plenty that may indicate this film is in the same league as Branagh’s film.  Plenty of artistry in the cinematography and costumes, and indications that some real effort went into the battle scenes.  And isn’t Fassbender a dead ringer for Richard Harris in Camelot?

macbeth movie poster fassbender

Other familiar actors featured in the film include David Thewlis (Timeline, the Harry Potter franchise, RED 2, DragonHeart), Paddy Considine (Hot Fuzz, The Bourne Ultimatum, The World’s End), Elizabeth Debicki (The Man from U.N.C.L.E.), and David Hayman (Shetland, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit).

Here’s the first trailer for director Justin Kurzel’s Macbeth:

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