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Film Studies 101

Empire Magazine Jurassic World Cover


“Jurassic World!” Welcome not just to Alan Partridge’s updated catchphrase, but a whole new take on the dino-saster premise Michael Crichton came up with and Steven Spielberg perfected. Empire headed to Isla Nublar (okay, New Orleans) to meet the people behind this epic new Jurassic adventure. “I wanted people to know this was going to be a bold movie,” director Colin Trevorrow tells us. “It’s going to be different.”

This year’s Empire Awards was a typically riotous jamboree of filmy fun, as some of cinema’s greatest and good-est gathered for feasting and revelry to make a hobbit’s eyes water. There were tears, there was laughter, James Nesbitt sang another song (not the dishwashing song) and Paddington bear shared a room with Christopher Nolan. All the stories are here in what people are calling “a shoo-in” for The Best Empire Awards Coverage award.

Talented, versatile and up for a risk, Anna Kendrick is a screen presence it’s impossible not to warm to. Her very casting immediately increases a film’s likeability by 17 per cent, although Pitch Perfect 2, a sequel awaited with baited larynxes by its fanbase, hardly needs the boost. Handily for our interviewing purposes, she’s also disarmingly frank, merrily slaying failed comedy sequels (Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle, consider yourself schooled) while telling us how “I have to fight for girls who are more vulnerable”. Told you she was likeable.

As a Pixar elder, Brad ‘The Incredibles’ Bird is no stranger to old-fashioned storytelling. In the case of Tomorrowland, the exact nature of the story he’s telling has been a closely-guarded secret. There’s an inventor (George Clooney), a girl (Britt Robertson), Hugh Laurie (Hugh Laurie) and a mysterious future-Oz world (Tomorrowland). The stakes are high and the future uncertain. Interest more than piqued, Empire headed to the edit suite to torture Bird into telling us more. (NB: no actual torture was used in the making of this feature.)

‘Mad’ Max Rockatansky ain’t the only game in town – well, desert – in Fury Road. The movie is full of tough, resilient women too, including Charlize Theron’s Imperator Furiosa, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley’s Splendid, Riley Keough’s Capable and Abbey Lee’s The Dag. Following April’s cover future, Empire heads back into the Namibian desert to find out how these four characters survive in George Miller’s punk-rock apocalypse.

Famous as a lost treasure – cinema’s Mary Celeste – Orson Welles’ cut of The Magnificent Ambersons is out there somewhere, waiting to usurp the horribly truncated studio cut as his true vision for the film. So, at any rate, believes Joseph McBride. The Orsonologist and author of What Ever Happened To Orson Welles takes Empire on an amazing treasure hunt for the real Ambersons.

Zut alors! We’ve barely swept away the croissant crumbs from last year and suddenly it’s Cannes time again. Well, Empire is not one to miss the world’s most famous and prestigious film festival – not when there’s a chance to don our Victorian beach pantaloons – so we’ve paved the way for the 68th such event with a clutter-cutting look at the ten films to keep an eye on down on the Croisette this year. Yes, we know you’ll need eight more eyes for that. Borrow some.

You knew about Bruce the malfunctioning shark and you knew about Steven Spielberg’s seafaring woes on the set of Jaws, but did you know that Mayor Vaughn (Murray Hamilton) was once attacked by a Martha’s Vineyard skunk but was too drunk to realise until the next day? Or that the lilo girl on the defaced billboard was Brian De Palma’s girlfriend? We have 40 pub-friendly facts to impress even the most diehard Jaws fan.

She sounds more English than a cucumber and EastEnders sandwich but Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation’s Rebecca Ferguson actually hails from small-town Sweden. Note the name, though, because she’s going to be a big deal around here when M:I5 arrives, as our Christopher McQuarrie-led breakdown of the film proves. Bryan Singer repeats the trick with exclusive new X-Men: Apocalypse art, while Maisie Williams and Rosario Dawson stop by for a chat. As always, Slate is the early bird to help you catch the juiciest movie worms. Mmm… worms.

This month on Air Mile Watch, destinations included Berlin, New York, Georgia and Surrey for hitman actioner Agent 47, Judd Apatow’s Trainwreck, Magic Mike XXL and Victor Frankenstein. Turned out there are no air miles for going to Surrey but the sight of James McAvoy, Daniel Radcliffe experiencing a Monster day on the set more than made up for it. Find out what foul fiend is stretching even the pooled powers of Professor X and Harry Potter within these pages.

Avengers: Age Of Ultron ushers in a fresh month’s cine-cargo that’ll need inspecting with a fine-toothed comb. Rolling through Empire’s X-ray scanner is homegrown spy thriller Spooks: The Greater Good, Jon Stewart’s feature filmmaking debut Rosewater, a spot of Thomas Hardy buccolia in Far From The Madding Crowd, surprising Al Pacino comedy-drama Danny Collins and nutso US-Prez-in-wilderness actioner, Big Game. Looking for Earth’s mightiest reviewing? It’s here.

This month’s Re-View section is home to reviews of all the Blu-rays, DVDs, books, soundtracks and games you need to know about this month. There’d be LaserDiscs in there too, if they still made them and we could fit them in. Leading off is Birdman, Oscars in tow, with Big Hero 6, The Duke Of Burgundy, Unbroken and The Theory Of Everything in hot pursuit. As a rather big bonus, we nose about behind the scenes on the Wachowskis’ Netflix sci-fi, Sense8, to find out what visual marvels await.


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