The top-grossing films of this year are a mixed bag of themes; from Marvel to Minions, and 007 to Furious 7, these are movies that cater for fans of practically any genre. Some are completely reliant on digital computing technology, others rely on real actors flinging themselves around while all hell breaks loose – presumably they needed artist insurance from Howden Group or other experts!
One note – this list includes films that were released towards the ends of 2014, simply because they continued to bring in money into the new year. What will be interesting is whether this list is changed by the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. It may only be released on the 17th of December, but it’s highly possible it’ll be in the top ten before the year is out.
1) Jurassic World – $1.6bn
Steven Spielberg was the executive producer for the return trip to Isla Nubar, which has somehow managed to overlook the carnage of 22 years ago to open a theme park housing a genetically modified stealth killing machine – surely nothing can go wrong?
2) Furious 7 – $1.5bn
The seventh instalment of the Fast and the Furious franchise became a poignant one when leading star Paul Walker was killed in an unrelated accident midway through shooting. Petrolheads haven’t got their fill yet – the next in the series arrives in 2017.
3) The Avengers: Age of Ultron – $1.4bn
Fans of US crime drama The Blacklist will have been happy that James Spader’s solemn tones provided the voice of robotic nemesis Ultron, to accompany RDJ, Chris Hemsworth and the rest of the team. No-one ever seems to talk about the mass destruction that numerous towns suffer during this franchise, only that a worse disaster has been escaped by the end.
4) Minions – $1.15bn
A single-celled evolutionary tale of how a spin-off from another set of films can work brilliantly, the Minions are perhaps everyone’s favourite yellow organisms since The Simpsons.
5) Inside Out – $842m
Perhaps the highest-ranked film on the list to receive universal acclaim from critics; indeed, there is even talk of it picking up the Oscar for best film, which would be a first for an animated movie. The five ‘personified’ emotions made this film the third highest-grossing Pixar film.
6) Mission Impossible Rogue Nation – $682m
Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner and Simon Pegg yet again took on an impossible mission – thereby surely continuing to devalue the term – as they tackled international rogue organization The Syndicate.
7) Fifty Shades of Grey – $569m
Despite being hammered by critics for its acting, script and total lack of chemistry, this ‘erotic’ romance made it into the top ten proving that the buying public takes little heed of reviews.
8) Spectre – $548.5m
James Bond’s latest incarnation, and Daniel Craig’s fourth outing, has received mixed reviews from those hoping for another Skyfall. Scott Mendelson at Forbes magazine said it was the worst Bond in 30 years. However, it still managed to take £52m in its first week, and will surely increase this figure over the coming months.
9) Cinderella – $542m
This Disney romance borrowed many influences and elements from the original 1950 film with a stellar cast including Cate Blanchett and Helena Bonham-Carter.
10) Ant-Man – $513m
Another Marvel entrant, starring Paul Rudd as the superhero with an ability to shrink in scale while increasing in strength.
It’s not everyday a movie comes out that go on to be considered ‘classic’, but THE GOONIES is one of those films. A perfectly constructed family film, but then when you look at the people behind it, perhaps that should come as such a surprise. After all, it did have involvement from 3 people who would probably eat up three quarters of the budget if you tried to get them collaborating today. The story was originated by Steven Spielberg, then written by Chris Columbus and directed by Richard Donner, which is a pretty incredible team to have behind a movie.
For those of you too young to have seen it the first time around, the story follows a young group of friends who are trying to save their home from being taken over by an evil property development company. When the gang discover a treasure map in the attic of one of their group, they decide to set off to find it, as the money could be just what they need to stop the land being sold off. What follows is an epic tale of adventure, with some stellar performances from a young Sean ‘Samwise’ Austin as Mikey, Josh Brolin as his older brother Brand, Jonathan Ke Quan as the nerdy Data, Jeff Cohen as the ever memorable Chunk, and Corey Feldman as Mouth (because it was the 80’s, and California law at the time meant one of the 2 Corey’s had to be in your movie).
As the group set off on their quest for “One-Eyed” Willy’s doubloons, they encounter the Fratellis (not the band…), a criminal gang running a counterfeiting operation, and ruled over by the fearsome ‘Mama’ (played by the brilliant Anne Ramsey), who aren’t too happy with these pesky kids poking around their operation. This brings us to the somewhat surprising star of the Goonies. Sloth (John Matuszak), who despite being seen as a monster by most people at first, ends up becoming the total hero of the entire movie.
The Goonies is a classic, not only of 80’s cinema, but one that stands up just as well today. It maybe a 30 year old movie, but it has such heart, and fun sense of adventure, it’s impossible not to get wrapped up in the story. This 30th Anniversary edition comes with some great extras too.
On the Blu-ray there’s a commentary track from Richard Donner with various cast members, a ‘making of’ feature, deleted scenes, the Cyndi Lauper ‘The Goonies ‘R’ Good Enough’ music video, a remastered soundtrack, and the theatrical trailer. The box also contains a number of art cards showing the film’s storyboards, Empire’s ‘Where Are They Now’ mini-magazine about the cast, and a beautiful little book containing lots of extra information and trivia about the making of the movie. With Christmas just around the corner, it’d be a great gift for any 40-something looking to reconnect with one of their favourite childhood films, or a great way to introduce a new generation to a classic motion picture.
10/10 – Hey You Guys… Should really go out and buy this!
Join the Mockingjay one final time in London for the final Hunger Games Premiere. Raise your three finger salute to the final instalment of the EPIC Hunger Games franchise! THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY – PART 2 lands in UK cinemas on the 19th November, so why not get yourself prepared by watching the UK premiere live stream, right here on Geektown!
ATTENDING FROM THE MOVIE:
Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Elizabeth Banks, Julianne Moore, Woody Harrelson, Donald Sutherland, Sam Claflin, Natalie Dormer, Stanley Tucci, Francis Lawrence (Director), Nina Jacobson and Jon Kilik (Producers).
Having taken a bit of time to recover from the epic Star Wars Trailer release, lets take a closer look at it shot-by-shot and see if we can shed some more light on things shall we…
The first shot is of course, Daisy Ridley’s ‘Rey’ (last name as yet unconfirmed… but, let’s face it, probably Skywalker or Solo) as she he’d off on a scavenger hunt inside what appears to be a downed Imperial Star Destroyer…
A bit of background – The ship is most likely to be the Inflictor, which was crashed onto the surface of the desert world of Jakku… If you thought Tatooine was a desolate dust bowel, it’s like party central compared to this ‘worthless floating rock’… So worthless in fact, that a year after Luke, Han & Leia partied with some Ewoks, the remains of the Empire (who weren’t all defeated at the end of RoJ) decide, in a desperate last ditch attempt for any kind of win, that not even the New Republic would bother sending a full military force to stop them capturing this pointless dust ball… They miscalculated… Badly… The Battle of Jakku basically ended the Empire and forced them to surrender and sign a peace treaty…
“Who are you?” asks the voice over (which we think is Maz Kanata played by Lupita Nyong’o). “I’m no one” she says… A likely story… 😉
Here we see Rey seemingly frustrated as a ship takes off in the distance. Possibly cursing the fact she’s stuck in a gigantic sandpit in a backwards corner of the galaxy maybe? That sounds familiar…
Next we move to John Boyega’s Finn (again no last name. Wonder why that is…). “I was raised to do one thing!” he explains… Well, given he’s wearing a Stormtrooper outfit, and appears to be stood in an Imperial base of some description, it’s a fairly safe bet that’s Stormtroopering… (yes, that’s totally a word…)
Given these are the next two shots, anyone else think he may have upset someone on the Star Destroyer and legged it in a TIE Fighter, only to be shot down and crash onto…
…yep, it’s that’s worthless dust ball Jakku again.
Back into space, and we see what appears to be Kylo Ren overseeing the shooting of some sort of large laser. What’s the betting that is coming from the large Pokemon ball looking thing on the poster? It’s thought that’s actually Starkiller Base, the a converted ice planet which is home of the Empire’s replacement, The First Order.
And here’s a close up of that Kylo’s mask. Somewhat Vadery as you’d expect. Kylo Ren is not his real name of course (That has yet to be revealed…) The Ren part comes from the ‘Kinghts of Ren’, who may sound like they would like a shrubbery, but are a group which has aligned itself with The First Order. Kylo took the last name Ren after he became part of the group. Being the giant fan boy Kylo is, it no suprise he seems to have acquired this…
The rather mangled helmet of a dark lord of the sith… “I will finish what you started” say’s Kylo. If talking to the 30yr old mask of a dead guy isn’t a sign you might not be playing with a full set of sabacc cards, I don’t know what is…
The two shots above give us another look at Ren, and Oscar Isaac’s hot shot X-Wing pilot Poe Dameron, who it would seem, has managed to get himself caught by Mr. Ren, who seems to be using some force powers to monkey around with his brain. I’m wondering if he’s trying to extract secrets from Poe’s head… Or possibly showing him a vision of the furture. Either way…
Judging by that shot, it’s probably not a good thing…
The first appearance of the old guard. It seems from this exchange with Rey and Finn, over the past 30yrs, the Jedi and stories of how the Empire was defeated have become whispered legend. “There are stories about what happened,” says Rey. “It’s true,” replies Solo, “All of it. The Dark Side. The Jedi. They’re real.” Certainly a change in position to the one he held on the same ship 30 years earlier. Is he just referring to the events covered in the original trilogy? Or has something even more epic happened in the intervening years to alter his thinking? This also leads us to wonder where Luke as been? Unlike in the old, now non-canon, Expanded Universe where Luke set up a New Jedi Order, in this new reality, Luke has faded away. Is he in hiding? If so, why? Has he turned to the dark side? Given that the pitch Kathleen Kennedy used to get J.J. Abrams involved in making the film in the first place was to ask “Who is Luke Skywalker… now?” it’s a safe bet we find out.
Of course, the Millennium Falcon is back, and it’s awesome! What I love about this film is we’re going to get to see a lot more ship fights on planets, rather than just out in the blackness of space. Again, these seem to be on Jakku, as there’s the downed Star Destroyer again.
It’s Kylo again with what we suspect are some of the other Knights of Ren. You will notice the fabled broadsword style lightsaber which Kylo apparently constructed himself.
Now we’re into some epic battle sequences. Here you see a group of newly smoothed Stormtroopers defending a pile of rubble from an X-Wing attack.
The next shot is rather interesting as it seems to feature Rey, Finn and Han (along with BB-8) entering some sort of temple. Could this be where Luke has been holed up for the past 30 years?
This is the shot we saw in the previous trailer, which we believe to be Luke. He does seem the most likely candidate, but could that be a misdirection. Again, not showing his face. Has he had some sort of terrible accident that’s scarred him. Has he been ravaged by the dark side?
Ahh, here’s Chewie. Hasn’t aged a bit!
It’s a “blink and you’ll miss it shot” in the trailer, but it’s the first time we see Leia this in the new film. It’s an incredibly sweet and emotional shot. Clearly there’s some sort of battle starting. You’ll notice in the background what seems to be an interesting mix of Imperial style uniforms and X-Wing pilots which is intriguing…
And here’s Finn. Skywalker lightsaber in hand, about to throw down with Kylo Ren. Could this mean Finn is possibly Finn Skywalker? We’ll get to find out on the 17th of December, and you can book your tickets right now! According to Empire Cinemas, they sold over 20,000 tickets on Monday alone. If you’re in London, i’d urge you to head to Europe’s first IMAX with Laser screen in Leicester Square for the best 3D experience out there. They’re adding screenings through the night on opening day to keep up with demand. This is going to be epic!
Unless you’ve been hiding under a Bantha for the last few months, you are no doubt aware that Star Wars: The Force Awakens is coming to cinemas on the 17th Dec 2015 in the UK. Yesterday a new poster and trailer dropped showing a whole lot more than we’d seen before. The most noticeable thing in both is the distinct absence of a certain Mr. Skywalker… There is the tiniest glimpse of a hooded figure with a robotic hand in the trailer, which is most likely Luke, but that’s it. He’s not on the poster or really featured in the trailer. We know Mark Hamill was on set and his name is on the poster, so he will pop up somewhere, but he’s most definitely conspicuous by his absence in the marketing.
So why is that? The most likely possibility is something to do with his appearance. Could it be he’s been careless enough to loose an eye or ear along with his hand? Or could it be he’s turned to the dark side… Maybe that beard he’s been cultivating is some misdirection, and he’s not the new ‘Obi-Wan’ but the new ‘Emperor’, ravaged by years seeped in the dark side of the force… Which brings us to the next thing…
…that thing in the background of the poster that looks somewhat like a giant Pokemon ball. Is that a new Death Star? You know what they say, ‘3rd times a charm’ right?
Also interesting is the composition of the poster. Daisy Ridley’s Rey is front and centre, flanked by John Boyega’s Finn and Adam Driver’s Kylo Ren. This raises 2 things. 1 – it’s interesting that (currently at least), the lead isn’t the Jedi, and 2 – is the positioning of light and dark either side of Rey a sign she will get pulled in both directions?.. Or maybe i’m reading too much into it, and it just looked cool. 😉
Either way, tickets are available now, and I urge you to go and book asap.
Quick little competition we have for any Pink Floyd fans out there! The chance to win a Roger Waters The Wall poster to celebrate the cinema event release on Tuesday 29th September. RT to win, and book your tickets here http://bit.ly/1NQEaYS.
Roger Waters, co-founder and principal songwriter of Pink Floyd, fuses the epic and the personal in Roger Waters The Wall, a concert film that goes well beyond the stage. Based on the groundbreaking concept album, Roger Waters The Wall could be called a concept film: it’s a state-of-the-art show that dazzles the senses, combined with an intensely personal road trip that deals with the loss Roger has felt throughout his life due to war.
On stage and now on film, Waters has channelled his convictions into his art and his music. With Roger Waters The Wall, Waters – together with his fellow musicians and his creative collaborators – brings audiences an exultant ride of a rock and roll concert, and delivers an unforgettable, deeply emotional experience.
We have 2 posters to give away to 2 lucky winners. All you have to do is re-tweet the follow:
Win a Roger Waters The Wall poster for the cinema release on Tues 29th Sept. RT to win, and book tickets here bit.ly/1NQEaYS