LAS VEGAS — Some quick thoughts on a number of other 20th Century Fox sneaks from their CinemaCon presentation earlier today.
This Cold War era spy thriller from director Francis Lawrence finds Jennifer Lawrence as a Russian ballet star who injures herself during a performance (it’s hinted at that it might not have been an accident). Unable to dance again she’s recruited by Soviet intelligence to be an undercover spy, a “red sparrow” that charms targets and leads them to their deaths. The preview didn’t look as fresh or interesting as the premise, but it’s got Charlotte Rampling as a tough taskmaster teaching Lawrence how to be the perfect spy. That’s enough to get me into the theater, how about you? If not, maybe the fact it also stars Joel Edgerton, Matthais Schoenaerts and Mary-Louise Parker (unseen in the sneak) will pique your interest.
“The Kingsman: The Golden Circle”
Newsflash: Colin Firth’s Harry Head is alive and well and it’s given away in the trailer so no complaints about spoilers, please. This sequel to Matthew Vaughn’s entertaining “The Kingsman: The Secret Service” finds the spy organization’s U.K. headquarters destroyed prompting Gary (Taron Egerton) and Merlin (Mark Strong) to go to the U.S. where they meet their American counterparts, the Statesmen. This means meaty roles for Halle Berry (playing a nerdy scientist infatuated with Strong’s character), Jeff Bridges (doing his Jeff Bridges thing) and Channing Tatum as a cowboy loving Statesman agent. There was only a brief shot of Julianne Moore as the film’s villain, Poppy. Vaughn’s imaginative spy gadgets and shooting style is intact, but the increase of familiar Hollywood faces really won over the CinemaCon crowd.
“War for the Planet of the Apes”
We may have lost our patience for the “Apes” franchise. Matt Reeves is obviously a talent, but based on the extended clip and the trailer(s) that have been released it doesn’t seem like much has changed since the last installment, 2014’s “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.” Caesar (Andy Serkis) is leading his band of apes through the snow filled wilderness hoping to find more allies as human armies are decimating their ranks. They discover a former zoo ape (played by Steve Zahn) who also gained intelligence that has been hiding out on his own. It makes Caesar realize there may be many more intelligent apes now throughout the entire world. Before he can find more of them, however, he’s going to have to take down the Colonel (Woody Harrelson), a bat shit crazy military commander who is willing to destroy the apes by any means necessary. A one on one showdown is inevitable between the two and from the footage shown it’s pretty obvious who’s gonna win this one.
“Murder on the Orient Express”
Kenneth Branagh’s adaptation of Agatha Christie’s classic murder mystery has an amazing cast. Penelope Cruz, Olivia Colman, Willem Dafoe, Judie Dench, Johnny Depp, Josh Gad, Daisy Ridley and Michelle Pfeiffer, among others. The footage shown – which felt like a teaser trailer – was fine, but felt a bit too familiar? In fact, the most memorable aspect of it was Branagh’s monstrous mustache as Belgian detective Hercule Poirot. At this point the mustache might need it’s own movie!