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Apes Dawn, mutants rumble and Firth fights

28 March 2014  |  Written by James White  

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Threesome. Stop sniggering… 20th Century Fox (or, more accurately) Cameron Diaz and Leslie Mann used the word to describe new comedy The Other Woman, but it could also be used for the studio’s trio of big tentpoles X-Men: Days Of Future Past, Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes and Secret Service, which were the centrepieces of its CinemaCon presentation.

Fox boss Jim Gianopulos kicked things off with a general overview of the films the company has coming out, including comedies The Other Woman, Let’s Be Cops, family fare Rio 2, How To Train Your Dragon 2 and alien invasion ‘toon Home plus some titles too far off to show much of, including Ridley Scott’s Exodus (now subtitled Gods And Kings) and DreamWorks ‘toon Book Of Life (a Mexican Day Of The Dead-styled animated rom-com produced by Guillermo del Toro and directed by Jorge R. Gutierrez). Shailene Woodley was on hand to offer a look at The Fault In Our Stars, and the trailer for The Maze Runner was screened.

But as we mentioned, the focus was on the big films. The opening minutes of Days Of Future Past were shown, featuring a blend of the original cast (Ellen Page’s Kitty, Shawn Ashmore’s Iceman and Daniel Cudmore’s Colossus) plus some of the new mutants (Blink, Warpath, Sunspot and Bishop) battling the nasty, tricky future Sentinels. We won’t reveal too much about this sequence, but suffice to say, the sequence was intense and Bryan Singer’s attempt to top his own opening sequence for X2. Has he succeeded? You’ll have to wait and see…

Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes’ presentation was a blend of the recent trailer and other completed footage, with some dangerous meetings between Apes and humans and one standout sequence in which two drunk survivors encountered an ape they thought might be friendly. Bad move… Everything we saw gave us hope, so our fingers are very much crossed here. You can read more about the movie in the latest Empire.

Secret Service is the latest collaboration between Kick-Ass director Matthew Vaughn and the comic’s creator, Mark Millar. It stars Colin Firth as one of a group of secret agents disgusted with the bureaucratic shackles on organisations such as MI-6 and the CIA, who have gone private. The scene we saw was an early cut of a moment where Firth is looking to recruit the rough-edged, street-smart Taron Egerton for the team when they’re rudely interrupted by some troublemakers angry at Egerton. Firth quickly schools them in the fine art of manners by knocking them all out in a series of refined martial arts moves while barely breaking a sweat. While the effects were early and the score a temp track from On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, we were impressed, particularly as it managed to re-invent Colin Firth as an action star.

Finally, there was material from Gone Girl, which felt every inch a David Fincher film in its visual style and tone. Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike star in the cinematic version of Gillian Flynn’s novel, adapted for the screen by the author herself. What we saw certainly had a flavour of the book, and Affleck makes for an effective blend of smarm and charm as Nick Dunne, the man accused of murdering his wife when she goes missing. Hopefully the trailer for that should be online soon.


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