Tag Archives: Doug Whelan

Last night.

The Batman, due for release in 2021, is currently filming in London.

This short test footage was posted last night by director Matt Reeves, providing a first look at Robert Pattinson in full caped crusader getup.

Since starting his career in the uniformly awful Twilight film series, Pattinson has re-emerged as an immensely skilled and charismatic actor.

The likes of The Rover (2014), Good Time (2017) and The Lighthouse (2019) show a knack for roles that skew between arthouse and entertainment; with that in mind it will be interesting to see what he “brings” to the well-trodden role of Bruce Wayne/Batman.

Director Matt Reeves has a good track record too, with the likes of Cloverfield (2008) and his contribution to the superbly realised Planet of the Apes trilogy.

Holy First Look! Robert Pattinson As The Batman Is Blowing The Internet’s Mind (NDTV)

What you may need to know:

1. He’s back. The wilhelm of whimsy, the crown prince of quirk, Wes Anderson, returns with The French Dispatch – by the looks of things, his most Wes-Anderson-y movie to date.

2. The official synopsis:

“…a love letter to journalists set in an outpost of an American newspaper in a fictional 20th Century French city and brings to life a collection of stories published in ‘The French Dispatch’ magazine.”

3. The fictional publication is based upon The New Yorker; certain characters and storylines were inspired by figures and articles from that magazine’s past, as outlined here.

4. That wonderful poster is by the artist Javi Aznarez.

5. As with many of Anderson’s films, The French Dispatch is expected to premier at Cannes later in the year.

Doug’s verdict: Yes, yes, a thousand times Wes.

Release: July 24

What you may need to know:

1. 20 years on from his debut feature Memento (2000), Christopher Nolan’s Tenet is sure to be one of the biggest films of 2020.

2. Shrouded in secrecy since it was first announced, this is the first full look at the time-bending espionage thriller since a short teaser debuted ahead of Joker (2019) earlier this year.

3. It stars John David Washington (2018’s BlackkKlansman), Robert Pattinson (who has done a remarkable job shaking off Twilight in recent years to become one of the most respected actors out there), and Elizabeth Debicki, along with Kenneth Branagh and Nolan’s regular muse Michael Caine.

4. It just rumbled onto the internet in the past few minutes, so just hit play and enjoy.

5. Wait, what just happened?

Doug’s verdict: ffuts tnellecxe

Release: July 17, 2020

From top: Rami Malek; Léa Seydoux, Ben Whishaw; Lashana Lynch and Daniel Craig: The ‘just dropped’ No Time To Die trailer

What you may need to know:

1. Daniel Craig has no time to die, but he does have time for one last outing as James Bond, despite cash-…sorry categorically stating that he was done with the role following the release of Spectre (2015).

2. He’s joined this time by Lashana Lynch as a fellow MI5 superspy; you may recall mass wringing of hands by the Piers Morgans of this world earlier this year, when it emerged that the role of “007” would be played by a woman. A nifty prank, but also surely a test balloon as to whether the series could and should be fronted for real by a female Bond.

3. The screenplay was co-written by in-demand Pheobe Waller-Bridge, creator (and star) of BBC sitcom Fleabag as well as espionage drama Killing Eve. Waller-Bridge was brought on board in April of this year to “polish” the script by Neal Purvis and Robert Wade.

4. It’s directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga, currently best known for his work on the first run of True Detective. You’ll remember this astonishing tracking shot he masterminded in one of the episodes. Fukunaga replaced Danny Boyle, who left following “creative differences” with long-time producers Michael G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli.

5. You’ve also got Rami Malik in there, fresh from his Oscar winning turn as Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody (2018), about which the less is said, the better. He plays a “megalomaniac scientist”, whose dastardly scheme apparently has an environmental angle to it. Topical.

6. I’m not entirely sold on No Time to Die. It looks fun, but more of the same: efficiently packaged stunts, explosions and suits, combined with another personal crisis for the guy to overcome. It looks fun, but fun we’ve all had a zillion times before. Well, twenty-four times before, to be exact. I can’t help thinking if this trailer was for a Danny Boyle-directed Bond film, it would have far more going for it.

7. Finally, while we’re on the subject, have a chuckle with these excellent “Bondagrams

Release: April 2020

Doug’s Verdict: Let’s have a Ron D movie instead next time.

Thanks Sandra Houlihan

What you may need to know:

1. You ever get the feeling there are just too many trailers? There are so many things audiences are expected to get fired up about now that a lot of it just whistles by in the timeline before the next thing comes along. Next, next, next.

2. Well, never mind all that, because DisneyCorp has just “dropped” the final trailer for the final movie (as if) in the Star Wars saga, The Rise of Skywalker. They say final, as in the last in the trilogy of trilogies that George Lucas accidentally kicked off back in 1977, but Star Wars is very much here to stay.

4. For one, it’s only a few weeks until the long-awaited TV series The Mandalorian arrives. No word on when it’ll be available in this part of the world until DisneyCorp confirms its plans for the Disney+ streaming service, but the early word on John Favreau’s space western is very positive.

5. Back to The Rise of Skywalker; what can one say about the plot? Rey and Finn and company blast off across the galaxy on another adventure to apparently visit the wreckage of the Death Star and do something, stop something, start something, etc. Hot on their heels once again is Kylo Ren, who may or may not turn into a goodie by the end, if he and Rey can sort out their differences. He faked her out twice already though, so who knows.

5. Also in there in the most transparent attempt to keep tetchy “fans” on side is one Emperor Palpatine, played by Ian MacDiarmid, who was thrown down a shaft by Darth Vader in Return of the Jedi (1983) and by far the best thing about the wonderfully terrible prequel trilogy (1999 – 2005).

6. I say wonderfully terrible because despite their unquestionable awfulness, those movies have stubbornly refused be forgotten – exemplified by PrequelMemes, the spirited Reddit community that serves as an antidote to the “toxic fandom” that has grown around Star Wars since it was brought back to life in 2012.

7. On that note, I’m looking forward to the debate over which is the better trilogy once all this blows over. A strong case could be made for the prequels.

8. By the way, since they’re visiting the Death Star, does that mean Ewoks will make an appearance? Don’t bet against it.

9. Ahead of the December release date, why not take a trip back to 1976, to the very first Star Wars promo, before John Williams’ famous score was even written.

10. It will be the final screen appearance of Carrie Fisher, who would have been 63 yesterday.

Release: December 20

Doug’s Verdict: Here we go again.

What you may need to know:

1. The only thing you need to know about The Day Shall Come is that it heralds the return of comedy eminence Christopher Morris, who wrote and directed this farcical comedy thriller.

2. It is unquestionably in the same wheelhouse as Morris’ last big-screen outing Four Lions (2010), about a crew of incompetent wannabe jihadists determined to launch a terror attack in the UK.

3. In the meantime, he has been directing episodes of Veep, while also co-writing the brilliant Stewart Lee’s Comedy Vehicle, but mostly keeps a low profile.

4. Of course, he will always be best known for the still-extraordinary satire Brass Eye, whose “Paedogeddon!” episode was, at the time, the most-complained-about episode in British television history and even got raised in Westminster.

Doug’s verdict: Looks pretty akbar.

Release: October

What you may need to know:

1. I recall reading somewhere that Stephen King has had more works adapted for the big screen than any other author; Shakespeare or Dickens (or Danielle Steel) might disagree, but where multiple adaptations of their works would beef up the numbers, story after story after story by the King of Horror has been adapted – with varying degrees of success.

2. For every Shawshank Redemption (1994), there’s a Maximum Overdrive (1986); for every Stand by Me, (1986) there’s a Dark Tower (2017)

3. The past few years have seen King’s screen credits soar once again, as the modern medium’s thirst for content opens up untold hours of screen real estate.

4. Currently running TV series based on his works include Mr. Mercedes and Castle Rock, while upcoming It Chapter 2, Salem’s Lot and The Long Walk will be joined by 2013’s Doctor Sleep, yet another legacy sequel, this time to King’s 1977 sophomore novel The Shining and/or Stanley Kubrick’s flawless 1980 film adaptation.

5. Doctor Sleep reacquaints us with Danny Torrence, now an adult who looks just like Ewan McGregor. Torrence, still traumatised by the events at the Overlook Hotel, works at a hospice using his clairvoyant gifts to provide comfort to terminally ill patients. It’s a peaceful life until he meets Abra (newcomer Kyliegh Curran), a teenager with the same gift being pursued by a ruthless group who want to use “the shine” in their quest for immortality.

6. I love the tone of this trailer. It puts its debt to Kubrick front and centre, mostly avoiding jump scares and any of that “red band” nonsense, instead concentrating on a sense of dread and anticipation.

7. Take the recreation of that shot of Jack Nicholson looking through the smashed door – one of the most recognisable images in all of cinema. Rather than a vain attempt to recreate the moment, it’s done in a detached and dreamlike way, as though it’s something Danny only half-remembers. It’s light-years from Steven Spielberg‘s vandalism of the same film in Ready Player One.

8. Director Mike Flanagan has moderately good horror credentials. He was responsible for 2013’s Oculus, and well-received Netflix series The Haunting of Hill House, among others.

9. Both of those were effective and well-made, if a little derivative, but to be fair to Flanagan it’s practically impossible not to be derivative in the horror genre. He also directed the superb King adaptation Gerald’s Game for Netflix.

10. I’m not familiar with the source material, but despite being overdue and unasked-for, this feels and looks like it might be one of the good ones. It seems that despite the appearances of going back to the well instead of coming up with something new, with Doctor Sleep, King expands and deepens The Shining rather than rehashing it. If this film can do the same thing, it could be a winner.

11.  Shout-out to 2010, the criminally underrated 1984 sequel to Kubrick‘s 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), which does that exact thing. Seek it out.

12. Finally, of the upcoming King stuff, I’m most looking forward to the TV adaptation of King’s apocalyptic 1978 masterpiece, The Stand.

13. No cast or other details have been announced, but done right, the story of the end of the world and what comes next has the potential to be one of the greats, with a strong contemporary resonance in the Trump era through its malevolent villain Randall Flagg.

Doug’s Verdict: The next big King

Release: November 2019

What you may need to know:

1. Joaquin Phoenix looks simply astonishing in this grounded and gritty-looking “origin story” of the clown prince of crime and Batman’s arch-nemesis.

2. Martin Scorsese was on board as producer early on, and despite departing the movie this time last year, his presence is still very apparent: Taxi Driver (1976) and The King of Comedy (1982) both are clearly major influences, underscored by the presence of Robert de Niro.

3. Yes, it’s the prequel nobody asked for, but despite unfortunately being one of those “teasers” that in fact gives away the entire movie, Joker has suddenly shot up the list of 2019’s most anticipated movies.

4. The question now is, will the Batman – due for yet another reboot after Ben Affleck‘s disastrous turn in the cape – make an appearance ahead of, well, The Batman (2021)?

Doug’s verdict: No laughing matter.

Release date:
October (US), TBC (Europe).

What you may need to know

1. Jim Jarmusch, one of the most significant US indie directors of the past four decades, returns with undoubtedly his most audience-friendly film to date. That’s not to say he hasn’t been accessible in the past, but the wacky slapstick and record-scratch punchlines on show here are quite far removed from the austere drama in the likes of Dead Man (1995), Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (1999) or The Only Lovers Left Alive (2010).

The Dead Don’t Die is Jarmusch’s second film with Adam Driver, following 2016’s light-hearted drama Paterson. It’s also his second film with Bill Murray after Broken Flowers (2005) and Tilda Swinton (The Only Lovers Left Alive), plus he has worked with Tom Waits and Iggy Pop on several occasions over the years, most notably in 2003’s Coffee and Cigarettes – overtly referenced here by undead, coffee-craving Iggy Pop.

It’s always pleasing to see Tom Waits on screen; he’s doing a lot of acting at the moment with roles in Robert Redford’s The Old Man and the Gun as well as The Ballad of Buster Scruggs last year; some new music would be even better but it’s good to know he’s out there either way.

With The Twilight Zone currently making its TV comeback, you can’t help notice that opening voiceover aping Rod Sterling’s ominous voiceovers from the original 60s TV series. Take it as another attempt to help audiences make sense of 2019.

5. “Ghouls” is why Adam Driver is one of the best in the business at the moment.

6. We’ve seen plenty of zombie comedies pave the way for this one, of course, most notably Shaun of the Dead (2004) and Zombieland (2009), but the sardonic, deadpan tone here is one that can only come from an indie type like Jarmusch, and will offer something new to the genre.

Doug’s verdict: A horror movie with brains

Release: June TBC

What you may need to know

After years of false starts and broken promises, the long-hoped-for return of HBO’s masterful western drama is really real.

Deadwood, set in the eponymous frontier town in the late 19th century South Dakota, initially ran for three seasons from 2004-2006. It didn’t find much of an audience at the time but has since been consistently hailed as one of the all-time greats due to its realism, complex characterisation, production value and blending of actual events with fiction.

3. Ever since its rather undignified cancellation, creator David Milch and much of the cast kept a candle lit for its eventual return. That has taken more than a decade, but fans are currently punching the air in ecstasy.

4. A healthy portion of Deadwood’s acclaim is for Ian McShane (top) in the role of saloon owner and local crime boss Al Swearengen, whose penchant for soliloquies and getting his hands dirty for what he believed to be the greater good gave him the air of a dusty Shakespearean king.

5. Beyond that, there are actually too many good things to say about Deadwood, other than there’s plenty of time to catch up between now and the end of May.

Doug’s verdict: Yer darn’ tootin’

May 31 (Sky Atlantic TBA)