3. Incredibly bad timing, or incredibly good timing?
4. Amid the scandal engulfing Hollywood currently (which, in fairness, has been brewing for 100 years), Louis CK has starred in, written and directed, practically in secret, this dangerously on-the-nose comedy drama about creepy old filmmakers, young women and the nature of complicity.
5. The thing is, even without the Weinstein drama, there’s all sorts going on between the lines here. Louis CK himself has been the subject of some pretty sleazy rumours over the past few years. The comedian Jen Kirkman has been most vocal about it, while also maintaining her own distance. Now more than ever, such accusations and allegations need to be taken very seriously so…yeah.
1. Disney “dropped” the long-overdue trailer for The Last Jedi last night during Monday Night Football in the States.
2. The first teaser arrived in April, followed by a behind the scenes feature in July; this is the first that offers more firm plot details. Director Rian Johnson offered this caveat.
3. In terms of plot, it’s as you might have guessed. Rey (Daisy Ridley), last seen on Skellig Michael in Kerry, has begun her Jedi training with Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill, looking decidedly Oliver Reed-esque). He seems concerned about just how powerful she is, as does Snoke (Andy Serkis), who hints that he’s more interested in her than in Kylo Ren (Adam Driver, angsty).
4. On Ren’s side, he’s still struggling with the Dark Side, as illustrated by his hesitation to blow his own mother’s ship to smithereens. Unless this is a big fake-out, it’s sad to see that Leia (Carrie Fisher) has been hastily written out of the film due to Fisher’s sudden death last year.
5. Could Rey and Ren be about to switch allegiances?
6. The cute little animal thingies are called Porgs. Presumably there’s a factory in China knocking out 5,000 Porgs an hour, of various sizes, to be shipped to Disney stores all over the world in time for Christmas. Gotta get those toys out there. Merchandising is the real reason Disney paid $4bn for LucasFilm back in 2012, after all.
7. It’s a good trailer, does the job. But to me it feels like there’s something off about Star Wars’ image at this stage. With the firing of Colin Trevorrow from Episode IX (2019), the firing of Lord & Miller from the untitled Han Solo Movie (2018), and various other changes and replacements, it feels like we’re getting to see the sausage made.
8. LucasFilm and Disney are so fiercely protective of Star Wars that they are unwilling to take a single risk. When this film finally arrives, it’s clear that the immensely talented Rian Johnson will have toed the line completely, and the finished product will have been audience tested again and again, edited by committee and approved by a zillion executives to push all the right nostalgia buttons and so on. Is it the directors they don’t trust, or the audience?
9. That’s not to say it won’t be good. You could interpret it as a return to the old studio system that Hollywood operated until the 1960s, where the producer had complete creative control and the director was a mere technician. Marvel (arguably) keep getting it right, after all. What that led to was an independent film revolution, so I wouldn’t worry too much about the whole “Hollywood is out of ideas” thing. Which it is, but it’s all part of the cycle.
10. Anyway, I shouldn’t complain. Yeah Star Wars!
Doug’s Verdict: Doesn’t matter. Will be huge no matter what.
1. IT’S SO QUIRKY
2. The latest quirky oddity from that ever-so-aloof master of whimsy, Wes Anderson. He’s returning to the stop-motion animation style he employed for his adaptation of Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009) for this story of a near-future Japan in which all dogs are banished to live on a garbage island.
3. A young boy travels to the island to rescue his own best friend (sorry), and a positively Anderson-esque adventure ensues.
4. Animation aside, all of Anderson’s many trademarks are present and correct. These include the sprawling all-star cast (going by the poster, could it be his most sprawling and all-star to date?) delivering droll, sardonic dialogue, symmetrical angles, flat camera shots, unusual close-ups and cuts, the works.
5. People either love or hate Anderson’s shtick. I’ve found him hit and miss over the years. It’s often said that he cares more about the process than the finished product, hence the obsessive attention to detail on all of the above.
6. There’s no doubt he’s a brilliant storyteller though who has been out there on his own, with his own voice, right from the start. As such, anything he does is worth paying attention to, and if it ends up one of his less well-received outings, there will doubtless still be lots to love about it.
7. SO quirky
Doug’s verdict: So fetch
Release date: March 23, 2018
1. With Wimbledon currently taking place, no better time to serve this trailer for Borg/McEnroe, a Swedish-made drama exploring the rivalry between two of the greats of the game, John McEnroe (Shia LeBeouf) and Bjorn Borg (Sverrir Gudnason).
2. Their match in the 1980 Wimbledon final has been touted as one of the greatest games of tennis ever played. It was not, however, the one in which McEnroe heckled the umpire with his immortal “You cannot be serious” line. Some of his many on-court tantrums can be seen here.
3. Petulant spoilsport or perfectionist genius? That appears to the thrust of the film is about for LaBeouf’s character, contrasted with Borg’s lifetime in the game in Sweden under the tutelage of coach Lennart Bergelin, played by the always-great Stellan Skarsgård.
4. Naturally, Shia LaBeouf states he was attracted to the role of John McEnroe due a similarity between the pair: both misunderstood in their passion for what they do. Not sure McEnroe was ever on camera racially abusing a police officer, but there you go.
5. McEnroe did get in a bit of bother recently with his comments about Serena Williams though. While they were slightly taken out of context, the jist of it (which he did decline to walk back on even after getting all the stick) was while she’s probably the greatest female player of all time, she’d probably rank around the 700s in the men’s game. If ever there was a sweeping statement that proves why feminism exists, it’s that. “Look, she’s amazing, but there’s probably like 700 men better than her and that’s that.”
6. Which leads us nicely to the other tennis movie we’re getting this year….
…That’s right, as is so often the case, Borg/McEnroe isn’t the only fact-based tennis movie we’re getting in 2017. Steve Carrell and Emma Stone will star later this year in Oscar-baitBattle of the Sexes. It tells the high-stakes 1973 exhibition match between Bobby Riggs and Billie Jean King, a milestone in the mainstream acceptance of women’s professional sport.
8. Until then, smouldering Bjorn Borg and over-excited McEnroe will have to do.
1. You might recall some months ago, photos of Pierce Brosnan on the set of his next film emerged, in which he bore a striking resemblance to Gerry Adams. Well, we’re delighted to report that wasn’t an exaggeration and this is a real film that got made. Here comes The Foreigner, also starring Jackie Chan, who it appears has come of age and is ready to challenge Liam Neeson for the disgruntled father with a particular set of skills niche.
2. The trailer unleashes most, if not all of the plot so instead let’s talk about Gerry…sorry, Liam Hennessy. The blurb says he’s a British government official whose own past may hold the clues to the elusive killers (of Jackie’s daughter, that is). The timing of releases like this is really something. We almost never see film or TV address the IRA in a modern context (broadly speaking – feel free to correct me below).
3. Now, when there’s a worry that things may start to slip backwards if we’re not careful, wouldn’t you know it, they’ve made a knockabout Taken-style action movie that appears to imply that the IRA are not only detonating bombs in London, but also that DEFINITELY FICTIONAL reformed terrorists-turned-Deputy First Ministers are actually anything but reformed.
4. The last major cinema release about the Troubles was the brilliant ’71 (2014), which declines to take sides, instead depicting good and evil on all sides of the conflict. The result felt as if John Carpenter and Ken Loach made a film together.
5. Anyway, The Foreigner. The filmmakers got a slap on the wrist when filming, by blowing up a bus on a London bridge. Not everybody got the memo that it was for a movie.
7. Jackie Chan may be getting on a bit, but it looks like he can still swing off/jump over/jump off things with the best of them. This looks to be a bit of a departure. Usually his stunt-heavy, kung-fu crazy roles are played for laughs (think Rush Hour and, I dunno, The Tuxedo or one of them). This movie, and his character in particular, look to be quite humourless (not for nothing, of course).
8. He hasn’t been seen on the big screen here since 2010’S The Karate Kid remake, but has been knocking them out at a ferocious rate in China. He was also awarded an honorary Academy Award in November last year, for his “extraordinary achievements” in film.
9. Based on Stephen Leather’s novel ‘The Chinaman’, which was a title that definitely needed changing. Any excuse.
10. Some eagle-eyed internet people spotted that his passport (@57) says he’s Vietnamese and that this itself is a slur as Chan is Chinese.
10. Finally, it’s Pierce Brosnan so again, any excuse.
1. Look, I know it must seem like Marvel movies are the only trailers I actually write up here, and you’d be right, but it’s hard not to when they’re knocking them out this fast. If you don’t like the look of them, you should see the absolute tripe that comes and goes. Transformers 5? Cars 3? Ain’t nobody got time for that.
2. That said, I am looking forward to Manchester by the Sea 2: Electric Boogaloo.
3. Anyway, here comes Marvel, making it look easy again. Every trailer they roll out, whether it’s Thor: Ragnarok, Spider-Man: Homecoming and now this, is met with near-complete enthusiasm. In contrast to blockbuster rivals DC’s ongoing woes, that is. Wonder Woman has been very well received over there but the upcoming Justice League looks like another hyperactive, adolescent, CGI overkill snore festival.
4. While the format and formula looks largely to remain unchanged something-teen movies in, they key to that enthusiasm is the studio’s sharing and rotating creative contributions with appropriate directors. In the role of Thor, Chris Hemsworth has shown an unlikely comic talent, so the reins to Thor: Ragnarok were handed to What We Do in the Shadows’ Taika Waititi. And Black Panther being Marvel’s first black superhero (est. 1966), who better to direct than one of the most talked-about young African American directors of the moment, Ryan Coogler.
5. Coogler is currently two for two, having made his debut with Cannes-prize-winning indie Fruitvale Station (2013), and the improbably excellent Creed (2015), his hip-hop hymn to Rocky Balboa. Both films, and this one, star The Wire alumnus Michael B. Jordan. Coogler was tapped for the Black Panther job just as Creed was being released, but it was too late to cast Jordan in the title role, since Chadwick Boseman was already filming the character’s debut in Captain America: Civil War (2016).
7. Strong use of Legend Has It by Run the Jewels, currently the toast of hip-hop and of whom Marvel Comics are big fans. Their fist/gun symbol has featured on more than one Marvel cover in the past couple of years.
8. Now. Black Panther was Marvel’s first superhero and it’s not insignificant that the Studio is now putting up the cash for an Africa-set, black-cast, black-directed blockbuster. Relatively few black actors have fronted mega-budget blockbusters (Will Smith is the only one I can think of off the top of my head); for an unknown like Boseman to lead one is unheard of. Combine that with the recent feminist success of Wonder Woman this month, and it’s apparent that attitudes are changing in Hollywood. Who said Blockbusters don’t matter?
9. Not linking to it, but racist dicks on 4chan and Twitter are having their say all the same. Something about a liberal agenda, you can guess the rest. It will be interesting to see how the film will address racism as it exists in the world today.
10. On the topic of “#OscarsSoWhite and the steps taken by the Academy to revise its imbalance, read this excellent New Yorker article.
11. That remarkable Afro-future costume design comes from another Coogler collaborator Hannah Beachler.
1. To quote another fantasy series, we come to it at last: the great battle of our time.
2. The seventh season of Game of Thrones, despite coming three months later than the usual April debut, consists of just seven episodes. An eighth and final season will follow in 2018.
3. The shorter season and later debut mean that more time has been spent on writing and filming, while vastly more cash has been spent on each episode. That’s quite clear from those sweeping battle shots and brand new sets.
4. Filming was also pushed back so as to avoid the usual summer (as in last summer) shooting schedule. It’s winter in Westeros now, so shooting took place later in the year in Northern Ireland.
5. It’s endgame time: Season 7’s plot will see the long-gestating confrontation between, well, everybody, as the war for the Iron Throne enters its (apparent) final phase. Fresh from her Corleone-esque massacre of her enemies, Cersei Lannister sits on the Iron Throne but her reign promises to be a short one as Daenerys Targaryen arrives to reclaim her throne. Meanwhile, in the North, Jon Snow aims to keep the White Walkers on the right side of the Wall, because if he fails, it doesn’t matter who rules King’s Landing. Meanwhile, Arya Stark may just make it back to Winterfell, Tyrion will continue to find his place in the world and a zillion other plot points will approach their conclusion.
6. If all that sounds like gibberish to a non-fan, well, it is, but make no mistake, Game of Thrones is the real deal. Everyone may live in castles and swing swords, but themes of politics, class division, family religion and faith, the horror of war and more make it one of the most brilliantly realised TV dramas of this or any other era.
7. On top of that, and the masterful acting and production value, I’ve always said the key to Game of Thrones addictive success is the same as what made Breaking Bad such a hit. Right from the very beginning, the question was put to the audience: how’s it going to end? With BB, the question was what will happen when Walter White is caught; here the question was and is who will be the last one standing? Each time a new person has climbed those steps over the past six years to sit on the throne, it has always felt temporary. Now that Dani and (as it turns out) Cersei Lannister are set to go to war with one another, whichever one comes out on top really will be the conqueror.
8. This show famously hasn’t shied away from killing off its heroes, don’t forget, so it’s entirely possible that fearless, scheming thunder-bitch Cersei might well be that last one standing. Unless (personal prediction alert): history repeats itself and the Kingslayer becomes the Queenslayer, but we could go on about that all day.
9. Along with the vast returning cast, the great Jim Broadbent has taken up a role for season 7.
10. As with season 6, events of the show have long overtaken the events of George R.R. Martin’s source novels. His last instalment, A Dance with Dragons, was published in 2011, while The Winds of Winter is still a work in progress. In your own time, George.
1. Here comes the new one from Edgar Wright, director of Shaun of the Dead (2004), Hot Fuzz (2007) and The World’s End (2013), sometimes known as the Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy. You’d have thought the trailer would signpost that fact, but it looks like a bit of a tonal shift for him so perhaps you don’t want to create an expectation of the same kind of slapstick comedy and endless film references.
3. Baby Driver sees Ansel Elgort (The Fault in Our Stars) play the title role as an unnaturally talented driver who puts his skills to work as a wheelman for Kevin Spacey’s idiosyncratic armed robbers. That is until he meets the girl of his dreams and sees a way to get out of the criminal life before his ruthless boss blackmails him into one last….wait a minute, we’ve got déjà vu…
4. The similarities to Drive (2011) are certainly there, right down to the hero’s savant-like skills, but that was hardly a groundbreaking work itself. According to Wright, his film owes more of a debt to Walter Hill’s The Driver (1978) than anything else. Also, given Wright’s track record, you’d hope Baby Driver has a similar surfeit of ideas that would give a well-told story a feeling of freshness.
5.The film, while not a musical, is entirely driven by music happening within each scene – i.e. what’s Baby’s iPod rather than on a soundtrack or score. (It’s less common than it sounds). The film takes its title from this Simon & Garfunkel song.
6. The supporting cast includes Spacey, Jon Hamm, Jon Bernthal, as well as (if rumours are to be believed), an uncredited Meryl Streep. Oh, and Flea.
7. Wright has also been busy with Marvel in recent years. He was slated to direct Ant-Man (2015) but left the role after shooting had begun, while retaining screenwriting and executive producer credit. Given his hyperactive directing style, it’s a good bet he wanted to do something “different” with the otherwise indistinguishable Marvel universe, but Kevin Feige and the lads had different ideas. That’s a question of ‘who knows best?’ Look what happened with Rogue One last year, for example.
8. Aswell as being needlessly long, this trailer struggles to put across the tone of the film. It’s colourful, with plenty of pause-for-a-one-liner moments, but none of them seem particularly funny. Spacey is playing it straight, while Foxx and Flea are not, and Elgort is somewhere in between. The vehicular stunts do promise there’s plenty more where that came from though…dig those donuts and reverse-180s. The reviews from its premier last weekend at SXSW are mostly very positive.
9.Variety calls Wright’s style of directing “a bit like someone smoking in a fireworks factory”: packed with potential but with the possibility of all going horribly wrong at any moment. Sounds about right.
Verdict: Bad trailer for a great film? Let’s hope so.
1. Ridley Scott’s sequel to Ridley Scott’s prequel to Ridley Scott’s 1979 sci-fi classic. Who says Hollywood has run out of ideas?
2.Prometheus (2012) was ambitious and very well made, but spoiled by a few too many plot points and lots of unanswered questions; Covenant looks like it wants to answer some of those questions. Hopefully it doesn’t throw up a load more.
3. Another thing Prometheus arguably got wrong was the absence of the actual Alien; probably why it didn’t use the moniker. This movie clearly aims to make up for that with Alien and Facehugger carnage dialled up to eleven.
4. The official synopsis:
“The crew of the colony ship Covenant, bound for a remote planet on the far side of the galaxy, discovers what they think is an uncharted paradise, but is actually a dark, dangerous world. When they uncover a threat beyond their imagination, they must attempt a harrowing escape.”
5. You can guess the above, but there looks to be more going on. Fassbender’s presence is wisely unelaborated-on; it’s safe to assume he’s an android, the same type last seen as David’s talking lopped-off head, escaping from the Engineers to go and find their homeworld and do…something. (It was a baffling movie really). He’s credited on wiki as Walter/David so let’s leave it at that for now.
6. There’s Kenny Powers being an action hero.
7. In Greek mythology, Prometheus was the creator of human life. A Covenant, meanwhile, is a formal agreement with God. What we might glean from this is David/Walter is aware of the trap the crew is walking into, while they have no idea he is an android – just like Ian Holm’s character in the 1979 original. But who is God in that case? The Company? Peter Weyland? Then there’s the Adam + Eve connotations we can take from the crew of couples travelling to what they believe to be paradise.
8. It wouldn’t be the first time the series has invested in religious symbolism. Let’s once again take the opportunity to point out David Fincher’s Alien3 (1992) is a massively underrated film and I will fight anyone who says different.
9. That said, it’s also possible we’re looking too much into a film essentially about loads of people getting killed by monsters, but these elements don’t make their way into films by accident.
10. Lots to intrigue and satisfy fans in this trailer; it really didn’t need that last shot. Kind of overkill, like LOOK LOOK THERE’S PROPER ALIENS THIS TIME AND THEY DO COOL STUFF OK PLEASE WATCH IT.
1. The 2017 blockbuster previews keep coming, so here’s the Tom Cruise’s latest excuse to run fast and jump off things, The Mummy. He plays a military type charged with transporting an entombed mummy from the deserts of Egypt to London, only to find the creature (Sofia Boutella) is alive and set on causing chaos and revenge.
2. Yes, technically this is a remake of the immensely silly Indiana Jones rip-off The Mummy (1999), but it’s actually a franchise that goes all the way back to the 1930s, when the likes of Boris Karloff and Lon Chaney played the titular creature. Things got a bit out of control when Abbot & Costello got in on the act.
3. It’s a well-established fact that blockbusters and sequels aren’t enough anymore; at least four movies are required in any franchise, so Universal Pictures are getting the band back together.
4. So The Mummy is the first in a series that will see outings from Frankenstein’s monster, Count Dracula, The Wolf Man, Creature from the Black Lagoon, The Invisible Man, Bride of Frankenstein and more.
5Russell Crowe plays none other than Dr. Henry Jekyll, of Dr. Jekyll and Mister Hyde. Here Jekyll is the head of Prodigium, an organisation which tracks the whereabouts of these creatures, which is presumably how the producers will crowbar those eventual team-ups off the page. They haven’t got a script yet, but they can bang one out by Friday.
6. Rather than the retro swashbuckling of the Brendan Fraser movies, or the gothic nature of, say, Penny Dreadful, this is a supernatural film set very much in the present, with what looks like the same globe-trotting antics as something like Mission: Impossible.
6. Tom Cruise seems to be giving less of a **** as he gets older. He’s got little to prove, and seems to choose roles based on what kind of stunts he gets to do. Rumour has it he actually spent a weekend in a body bag in a morgue before filming.
7. The Mummy is directed by Alex Kurtzman, the seasoned writer best known for the likes of the newer Star Trek movies. Kurtzman says he wants audiences to fall in love with each character first; if they can do that, then a world will present itself. “You have to make great individual movies, first and foremost,” he told journalists at a briefing last week. “And if you do that, then the audience will follow you.”