Empire Big Screen – Day 2 (Liz’s version)

I got through to Empire Big Screen at the O2 nice and early on Saturday morning, wandered around looking for the Press Room.  I knew I had to do something, like attend the events in the Indigo arena but I felt a bit lost.  The girls and boys in the Press Room wrote my name down for a variety of things and sent me packing, but in a good way.

I gained access to the Indigo room where all the big movie companies were showcasing their upcoming movies, offering talks and sneak previews and such. As I slinked in the back…just as Guy Ritchie came on stage to briefly chat about Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows.  The audience went crazy.  We saw the trailer and some exclusive bits (a sizzle reel) which looked amazing.  Stephen Fry as Mycroft – best casting EVER.  It showed Holmes (Downey Jnr) facing off to Moriarty (Jared Harris) across a chess board.  Interestingly, Ritchie said that it was a great thing for a very British movie, to be made with a Hollywood budget.  It meant that they could go all out, for cast, effects and story.  He also commented on the great camaraderie between Jude Law and RDJnr and how it translates really well to their characters on screen.  We were also shown a very battered Watson and Holmes at Watson’s wedding.  I cannot wait. Also Mr. Downey Jnr does look rather fetching in pretty lipstick.

Next up we were shown some frightening footage from Contagion by Steven Soderbergh.  Starring Matt Damon, Marion Cotillard, Jude Law, Laurence Fishburn, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Winslet…the list of amazing actors is long.  And exciting.  But most of all it looks like the movie is right on cue for the paranoia that so quickly and easily grips the media during any kind of outbreak of flu.

The utterly awesome Peter Jackson came on next on screen to chat to us about The Hobbit.  It was the most recent walkabout that he did that everyone has no doubt seen.  However, it was still met with a lot of fan-love and it looks superb on the big screen.

The teaser trailer for The Dark Knight had some superb applause but I think everyone felt a bit cheated that it was not something special for us.

Next up they had the existing trailer for Twilight: Breaking Dawn.  As well as exclusive clips showing Bella and Edward getting to their little getaway and Bella going into panic/awkward mode because you know…they finally get to do IT and Edward goes all “yeah, I’m off to go and have a swim in the sea”.  The next clip we saw Jacob facing off to the Cullens and being all manly (with his shirt on!) and he tells them he realises of course Bella is now with her real family…then he runs off into the forest to talk to his wolf bros and tell them that he’ll kill it – the baby – as of course, the Cullens now think he’s on their side.  The acting was awful and no one in the audience seemed impressed.  In fact, there was a lot of derisive laughter.  I cringed.  A lot.

There was a mini comfort break for the audience then it all started over again with a new set of trailers and things from Optimum.  First up was Kill List – a Brit hitman movie, directed by Ben Wheatley and starring Neil Maskell, MyAnna Buring, Harry Simpson, Michael Smiley and Emma Fryer etc.  Ben Wheatley and Emma came on stage to introduce various clips and bloody hell, it looks good.  Great juxtaposition of the violent lives Jay (Neil Maskell) and Sam (Harry Simpson) live during their “office hours” and then going back to quiet suburbia with wives/girlfriend and kids.

Guilermo del Toro’s Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark trailer and clips were up next and I am so excited about this movie, I don’t have words.  Starring Katie Holmes and Guy Pierce as the parents to the little girl, Sally, the story is very much in the vein of the “haunted house” trope but knowing del Toro, it is going to be that…and more.  I cannot wait to see this.

We saw some extended footage on Tinker Taylor Soldier Spy and wow – it looks like it is going to surpass the novel by le Carre.  It wouldn’t necessarily have been something I’d want to go see, but seeing the trailer on the screen, and the extended scenes, of Cumberbach’s character pulling off an amazing bit of thievery…I’m 100% behind it.

Next up we had Straw Dogs, starring an exceedingly buff-looking Alexander Skarsgard as the baddie, Charlie, opposite Kate Bosworth and James Marsden.  I recall reading the book and loving it – if the director Rod Lurie can show the slow burn evident in the book, we are all in for a very big treat.  And if not, well, Alex takes his shirt off.  A lot.

Moneyball had the audience a bit dubious – I don’t think American sports movies do really well outside of the States and even though Moneyball stars Brad Pitt as the general manager of a  baseball club who is prepared to do anything it takes to get his club to win…it got some weak applause.

50/50 starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen was an unexpected treat.  I suspect that JGL will soon be the new heartthrob in Hollywood.  He can act, he’s good looking in a geeky way, and no matter what role he stars in, you can empathise with him.  In 50/50 he takes the roll of a 27 year old man, Adam, who is diagnosed with a cancerous tumour.  It tells the story of his struggling to adapt with the diagnosis and his attempts to beat it.  Seth Rogen has been hit and miss in previous roles yet in this, he has some great on screen charisma with JGL and we can only hope that this movie pays off as it seems surprisingly upbeat and life affirming, considering it’s subject matter.  Also, not a movie to go and see without tissues.

Total Recall – I had no idea a remake was in the works.  I watched, my jaw open, as Colin Farrell stepped into the role of Doug Quaid/Hauser and kicked ass.  Via a video, Colin Farrell and director, Len Wiseman introduced the clips and although they weren’t all done, you could tell it was looking very snazzy and shiny indeed.  Also starring Kate Beckinsale and hotness herself, Jessica Biehl, I will be first in queue to watch this.

Roland Emmerich introduced his newest movie called Anonymous in which he postulates that William Shakespeare did not in fact write the plays the world think he wrote.  Beautiful costumes and setting, I hope that the story and the movie will do justice to the concept.  It is of course not a new idea that Mr. Emmerich is touting, so I’m looking forward to seeing a lot of discussion in the media about the concept of did he/didn’t he?

The day ended with footage from the Amazing Spiderman.  I am not at all a Spiderman fan.  I do not like him as a super hero and I did not like the previous three movies.  However.  Visually, the Amazing Spiderman looks incredible.  There is a less “depressed” feel about what we were shown, with richer colours overall. The characters also appeared a bit more interesting.  There is a mystery about Peter’s parents to solve and of course, the villain, Lizard looks superb.  I feel myself already rooting for him.  Not that I’ll go and watch the movie, you understand? Oh, maybe I will.

There were a few more things shown and let me tell you know: Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists by Aardman looks simply fantastic and I cannot wait to see it and own my own copy.  In the meantime, if you’ve not read the book, do so immediately.  Rib-crackingly funny, Gideon Defoe’s book was initially written “to impress a girl – it didn’t work out” but boy, he’s impressed someone.  I think we finally have got the Pirates movie we deserve.

And the Trailer:

GS Reporter:  Liz (@LizUK on twitter)

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