The sequel. The idea of it hardly inspires confidence does it? You could end up with an Empire Strikes Back or a Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. A Terminator 2: Judgement Day or a Speed 2: Cruise Control. The Dark Knight, or a Batman & Robin. We often get sequels it doesn’t seem anyone asked for (looking at you XXX: Return of Xander Cage), and yet there are some films where I’ve left the cinema desperate for more. Are great films better to be left alone untainted by a poor follow up, or is it worth the gamble. For different reasons, here are some great films I would love to see a follow up to. Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
The easiest one to pick on my list. I really enjoyed the original Swedish movie interpretations of Stieg Larsson’s ‘Millennium’ trilogy of novels. They were all made at the same time for TV, and I owned them all on DVD when they came out. It made a star of Noomi Rapace, and I’ve been a big fan of her work since in The Drop, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, and Prometheus. I enjoyed those films as much as the books themselves and was hesitant when it was announced that an English language remake was in production. David Fincher’s up there for me in my favourite directors, and when the trailer (one of the best I’ve ever seen) dropped with it’s flashing imagery and Led Zeppelin cover it caught my imagination. Rooney Mara hadn’t done too much other than a brief appearance in Fincher’s The Social Network (2010), and it was a brave decision to hand such a complex character as Lisbeth Sandler but she was superb. I love when Fincher goes dark and dirty with his films, and this was dripping in that. I imagine it will be difficult for Finchers, Mara and Daniel Craig to schedule in time around their other projects, but in The Girl Who Played with Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest there’s a ready-made trilogy in waiting. The first film works as a stand-alone story, so I imagine the idea was to see how that landed with audiences. The following two rely on each other more though, so it would require a commitment to do them both.
A bit of an anomaly in the list seeing as this is itself a sequel to Tron. It’s far from a perfect film, and more of a guilty pleasure for me than anything else. Although the story and dialogue were shocking (honestly couldn’t tell you what happens), the visuals and Daft Punk score were strikingly good - *just thinking about that now and have had to put the soundtrack on as I type*. The black background and light affects worked so well in 3D too, and is the only film I think of where I would say watching it through those stupid glasses is better than in 2D. I read that a sequel was in production, only to be cancelled recently which is a shame. They wouldn’t even have to work hard on a script that makes sense to keep me happy. Just wheel in Daft Punk and throw in some ridiculous neon action sequences. Oh, and bring back Olivia Wilde. Thanks.
I wrote in my last blog post about how the zombie genre is now getting really tired for me. But as with Shaun of the Dead, there is still opportunities to do something original with it. Zombieland did just that. I was really put off watching this film when the trailer was doing the rounds purely because it just looked liked yet another zombie movie. I’m not sure why I caved eventually, but I remember putting it on Netflix and having an absolute ball. The jokes are constantly funny, and they come thick and fast. The violence is over the top, so much so that the zombie backdrop is just that, and a platform for some great comedic performances by Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, Woody Harrelson, and one of the best ever cameo appearances ever ever ever. Eisenberg is peak-Jesse Eisenberg in this one, so it may hinge on whether you’re in to that, but for me it’s much more of a Social Network than Batman vs Superman Eisenberg performance. There was a TV series based on the Zombieland world that fell flat and was cancelled, but were they to stick to the same tone as the first and push it’s originality further still there’s definitely room for a sequel. On the La La Land red carpet I saw that Emma Stone was recently asked which of her films she would like to see turned in to a musical. She answered Zombieland, and I would 100% buy a ticket for that.
South Park’s team decided to turn the heat up on the United States’ war against terror with this satirical Thunderbirds rip off. I’ve watched it so many times, and have vivid memories of that vomit scene on repeat until my sides hurt with laughter. The songs are genius, and I seem to find something different funny with every viewing. The idea to create the film with wonky puppets becomes a brilliant joke in itself, particularly when it comes to a head in the funniest sex scene I’ve ever seen. I’ve never watched lots of South Park, but if they haven’t already I would imagine Matt Stone and Trey Parker would have a lot to say on Trump America. What better way than with further action film clichés and stereotypes in puppet form?
My film of 2016. I couldn’t believe how much I enjoyed this. I realised the other day that there hasn’t been many comedies recently that have grabbed my attention enough to go and watch them in the cinema. They’re often either a poor sequel to an old classic (see Zoolander 2), or 90 minute sex joke probably starring Zac Efron. Shane Black has history with his buddy cop comedies, and Nice Guys is now right up there with Lethal Weapon and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. As with his previous work the dialogue is snappy, funny, and works around an interesting detective investigation. The Ryan Gosling/Russell Crowe miss-match works wonders, and all three said during the marketing campaign how keen they would be to make another. I'm not sure it made enough money to warrant that which is gutting as there is a huge amount of potential with these characters.
That Byron Howard and Rich Moore's brilliantly clever look at society, discrimination and social stereotypes just edged out Moana as my favourite animation of 2016 says a lot. Too often kids films can take the foot off the pedal and cruise along with little effort, comfortable in the knowledge that the bright colours and fart jokes will be enough to recook the investment. Shrek was one of the first animation to add jokes only the parents would get, but even that looks tired when you have films such as Zootropolis/Zootopia trying their best to push the barrier and hold up a mirror to the world we live in. With that in mind, there is a lot more for them to say and I think kids and adults alike would be keen to see it.
If there is one way to get me giddy for a film, it’s having Friday Night Lights' very own Coach Taylor (Kyle Chandler) in it. Although other fans of one of the greatest TV shows ever may also be hoping for a 2 hour Chandler motivational speech, that isn't how Manchester by the Sea pans out. Instead Kenneth Lonergan (who writes and directs) has created a deeply moving and realistic look at grief, family and loss. A comedy it ain't, but Manchester by the Sea was a film I could have watched for another 5 hours so attached was I to it's characters and story. It's subject matter makes it a difficult sell, but I really hope this finds an audience as it was an enthralling piece of work.
The story is a difficult one to tell while avoiding certain spoilers, but I think that is important so as not to lessen the impact of particular scenes. Essentially, Manchester by the Sea is about Lee Chandler (Casey Affleck) - a man forced to care for his nephew (Lucas Hedges) followi…
A documentary’s place is often on the small screen where it has the time to carry out it’s investigation in full across a few episodes. Making a Murderer was a great example of that – there wasn’t anything visually grand about the series that was missed having it on my small screen, and it’s run time allowed it to delve deep in to the detail, rather than cramming it all in to 2 hours. Despite the tendency to find them more on TV, there is a growing trend in documentaries made for the big screen now. What was once an ignored platform is finding an ever growing audience. That’s reflected in my admittedly blinkered list of all time faves, seeing as only one was made outside of the last 10 years. Attention for film docs is getting bigger and bigger, and some of my favourite experiences in a cinema have been sitting through some of the films below. It isn’t often that audiences will challenge what’s being presented to them when it’s got that ‘documentary’ label, but through the same techn…
A while back for my previous job I had to drive from the office near Manchester, down to London, and then back again after a couple of days. Rather than sitting through the same songs on my iPod during the journey, I thought I would search for a decent podcast to listen to. The previous time I had made a similar journey I had listened to an audiobook of Oscar Wilde's 'The Picture of Dorian Gray' and although it was a great listen I was up for something for cinema themed this time round. Having searched through iTunes, I came across 'The Secret History of Hollywood.' The 'Universe of Horrors' episode in particular caught my eye, and although the 7 hour run time would put many off, it was exactly what I was after.
@philpotts89 Thank you! — Hollywood Histories (@moviehistories) September 4, 2016 As I mentioned in an earlier blog post, the podcast's examination of the role of the monster movie in the rise of Universal studios really caught my imagination a…