THE JUNGLE BOOK (Pictured) BAGHEERA and MOWGLI. ©2016 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
A lot of film fans have grown somewhat tired of Hollywood’s love of sequels and remakes. Indeed, the notion that Hollywood is out of original ideas, while never actually true, does get a boost with each passing spring and summer full of rehashed concepts or continuations aimed primarily at making money. At a glance, The Jungle Book, a new movie due out on April 15, looks like just another project that falls into this vaguely annoying category. Looking a little more closely, however, there are several reasons to think this might be more than just a box office ploy.


It’s Been 20 Years

The title “The Jungle Book” will always be iconic thanks to Rudyard Kipling’s book of the same name. But it’s actually been over 20 years since we saw a live action adaptation of the book. The 1994 film (officially titled Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book) actually did quite well, earning a strong score at Rotten Tomatoes and presenting an adventure that children and adults alike could enjoy. But when it’s been so long, and filmmakers can do so much more with effects, a remake doesn’t seem so bad. In all likelihood, the 2016 movie will only vaguely resemble the 1994 edition.


The Cast Is Wonderful

While this is a live action film, it’s also one that involves talking animals. As such, it’s taken the approach of many animated projects and roped in a who’s who of recognizable Hollywood voices to give life to the animals. The film’s IMDB page has the full cast listed, but the major names include Scarlett Johansson, Idris Elba, Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Christopher Walken, and Lupita Nyong’o, among others. If the same cast were doing more than voice acting, we’d be talking about Oscar expectations.


Jon Favreau Has Become A Reliable Director

Every regularly employed film director has a few whiffs to his credit. In the case of Jon Favreau, those would be Cowboys & Aliens and, in some people’s eyes, Iron Man 2. But Favreau is also responsible for the likes of Elf and Iron Man, as well as the vastly underrated 2014 indie film Chef. He’s proven his talents with comedy, action, adventure, and basic human emotion, and all of these elements will be vital to The Jungle Book. It certainly looks like the right man is at the helm.


Jungle Entertainment Is In Style

Not many movies are set in the jungle these days, but if you look at other realms of entertainment – most notably gaming – you’ll quickly realize that jungle adventures are enormously popular these days. In recent years we’ve seen memorable jungle levels in adventurous console games ranging from Uncharted 4 to Call Of Duty. In the mobile market, the jungle-based Temple Run app has been among the most popular games for years now. Even Gala’s bingo site online offers a haven for fans of jungle adventures. Among various themed bingo rooms, an “Amazon” option plays into the wild nature of jungle settings. Put simply, people still love the idea of stories of jungle fiction, which gives The Jungle Book a lot to build on.

The Latest Trailer Is A Wonder

Anyone who’s annoyed by even the most realistic CGI animals should perhaps stay away from The Jungle Book. But as long as that doesn’t bother you, it’s hard to view the recent trailer as anything other than spectacular. The detail of the animals and the richness of the jungle scenery are breathtaking, while the action calls to mind everything you loved from multiple childhood adventure stories. That’s because in a way there’s as much Lion King as there is Jungle Book in the trailer.

All in all, it looks like a fascinating project that should appeal to a lot of moviegoers, whether because they loved the 1994 film, they like the components of this one, or even because they still enjoy jungle fiction in general.


John Carpenter’s The Thing is a film about a thing, who can transform into other things. It’s my favorite Carpenter film, and that’s largely due to the creature designs and effects, courtesy of Rob Bottin and Stan Winston. So, here’s my 5 Favorite Things from The Thing (Spoiler warning!):

I love Steven Soderbergh’s Ocean’s Eleven. Loosely based on the Rat Pack-starring 1960 film (that Nick inexplicably loves), Soderbergh managed to create that rarest of marvels, a remake that far exceeds the original, and what is in my opinion a pretty damn perfect film that never fails to entertain me. Regardless of how much I do still enjoy the sequels, Ocean’s Twelve and Ocean’s Thirteen, it’s difficult to argue that they are in any way comparable to that first film. What they do have, though, is the same team, and that’s what we’re talking about today. Across the three films there’s a total of thirteen key members to the Ocean heist gang, not counting the bit-players and more minor characters, and here’s my run-down of the worst to the best.

When you ask most people what their one wish would be, the common answer is: winning the lottery. Dreams of scoring a huge jackpot win by picking a few numbers from a game card is one that many people have had in their life. Indeed, regardless of where you’re from, whether you’re playing Europe’s favorite lottery such as the Euro Millions, or you’re in the US taking a chance with the Powerball, lottery games have the potential to inspire awe and excitement in equal measure.


Comic book movies are all the rage in cinema at the moment having followed on from the wild success of the Dark Knight Trilogy and the development of the complex, interconnected Marvel universe. But comic movies haven’t always had this meaty budget and, to be honest, they haven’t always been that great to watch.


With the Marvel Universe currently owning the cinema, it seems that every man and his dog knows all there is to know about the hugely successful comics, or so they like to think. Yeah, they can point to the fact that The Hulk was originally meant to be grey but that is a fact as well-known as dolphins being mammals. Below are some of the more obscure Marvel facts.


For many years, sportsmen have been given an increasing role in the world of film. Some of the best sporting stars on the planet have featured in various movies throughout history, but more and more athletes are being asked to appear in films in the modern era. In fact, a number of famous stars from all over the world have gone on to secure roles in major movies – and we have taken a look at just a few of our favorite cameo roles from over the years.


John McEnroe (Anger Management)

The former Wimbledon champion is widely regarded as one of the greatest tennis players of his generation and continues to maintain an interest in the sport during his retirement. The 56-year-old has also been featured in numerous movies away from the game, including Jack & Jill, You Don’t Mess With The Zohan and Anger Management. In the latter, McEnroe acts superbly and there is a scene where the tennis legend channels all of his inner fury as he collides with Jack Nicholson. His passion is clear for all to see and, although he will forever be remembered for his success on the tennis court, he has shown that, with a little bit of guidance, McEnroe could have been a solid actor.


Brett Favre (There’s Something About Mary)

The legendary Green Bay Packers quarterback enjoyed a cameo role in the huge 1998 success There’s Something About Mary, although it may not have quite worked out that way as Steve Young of the San Francisco 49ers was originally in line for the position but turned it down. Ben Stiller helps to draw Favre and Mary, played by Cameron Diaz, together after he realizes that the two were meant to be together. Although this is a much different role than throwing touchdown passes and avoiding crunching defensive tackles, Favre performed admirably and deserves a lot of plaudits for his acting skills in the movie.


David Beckham (Goal!)

The former England captain has featured in a number of football related films, with Bend it Like Beckham using some archive footage of him in their 2002 release. However, his most popular appearance came in each of the three editions of the Goal! series. In the film, star striker Santiago Munez earns a transfer to Real Madrid to play alongside the likes of Beckham and Zinedine Zidane at the Santiago Bernabeu. Beckham’s cameo appearance was highly anticipated across the world as the Beckham brand ventured out into the world of film. Unfortunately for the superstar, he’s certainly not as talented an actor as he was a footballer and the former Manchester United winger has ruled out any further acting roles as he is ‘too stiff’ to make it in the profession.


Lewis Hamilton (Cars 2)

The current Formula One world champion featured in Disney Pixar’s Cars 2, which was released back in 2011. Lightning McQueen, the main character throughout each of the Cars movies, meets Hamilton at a party before he embarks on the three-race World Grand Prix series. Not only is Hamilton’s voice used for the British McLaren F1 car in the film but the 30-year-old apparently also helped offer his insight into the design of the vehicle. The current Mercedes driver only has a very brief appearance in the movie but it just goes to show that Hamilton is a man of many talents and racing fanatics flocked to see the British driver in animated racing action.


Daniel Negreanu (X-Men Origins: Wolverine)

Poker pro Daniel Negreanu was offered a small role in 20th Century Fox’s 2009 hit of the Marvel classic. The 40-year-old, who is one of the key members of the team at PokerStars, is pictured competing in the casino against mutant Gambit. Tournament poker’s biggest all-time money earner has been featured in a number of other roles, too, including The Grand and Lucky You. He also had a cameo role in the music video for Katy Perry’s “Waking Up in Vegas” as a poker player. It wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see the poker star appear in more roles as the card game’s popularity continues to grow.


Lance Armstrong (Dodgeball)

The most famous man to ever ride a bicycle as a profession, Armstrong has achieved more than most during his lifetime. The seven-time Tour de France winner recovered from stage 3 testicular cancer to get back into the sport and has gone on to compete in a number of the world’s biggest cycling races throughout his career. In the movie, he gives an inspirational speech to Vince Vaughan about how he didn’t quit when he had cancer as he wanted to tackle the problem and beat it. Armstrong convinces Vaughan to return to his dodgeball team and he helps Average Joe’s gym win the competition against arch enemy Ben Stiller.


Mike Tyson (The Hangover)

The most famous cameo role in recent years must be Mike Tyson’s appearance in the incredible Hangover series. Four friends visit Las Vegas for a bachelor party and, along the way, meet the former boxing giant after a crazy night on the town. Tyson plays the role perfectly and played a huge part in the film’s success. He appears in the first and second movies and even sings a number on the karaoke as Alan’s wedding gift to Stu Price. However, there was no role for Tyson in the third edition of the series. Despite this, the boxing legend, who is known as a tough guy, helps the comedic value of the series and more than holds his own against the other established actors.


marie1 In honor of our director of the month, Sofia Coppola, I decided to rewatch a film of hers that I haven’t seen since it first came out. It was a pleasant experience getting reacquainted with her loosely historical biopic of the infamously executed queen of France. Marie Antoinette is a bit of a divisive watch but I think it’s certainly got plenty to commend.


Remember books? Those old-ass things your grandma’s history professor used to read? They suck, right? Movies are way better. It’s just a fact. But, you know what? Calm down. Sometimes books show up in movies. That sort of makes them cool, right? Check out my Top 5.