Film Review Daily

Looking Ahead


UK opening dates for new films:



December 9:


Ferdinand: Ferdinand (voiced by John Cena) is not your typical fighting bull. He would rather smell the flowers. However, when he’s stung by a bee and starts kicking up a storm, he is rounded up and dragged off to Madrid to compete in the ring… This animated comedy from Blue Sky Studios and 20th Century Fox Animation is based on the 1936 children’s book by Munro Leaf. Appropriately, David Tennant vocalizes a bull called Angus, with other voices supplied by Kate McKinnon, Anthony Anderson and Bobby Cannavale.



December 14:


Star Wars: The Last Jedi: More of the same-old same-old from the usual crew in Episode 8 of the famous franchise, produced by Lucasfilm, Ram Bergman Productions and Walt Disney Pictures, with Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker, Carrie Fisher as Leia, Adam Driver as Kylo Ren, Daisy Ridley as Rey, John Boyega as Finn, Domhnall Gleeson as General Hux, Andy Serkis as Snoke, Oscar winner Lupita Nyong'o as the pirate Maz Kanata, Oscar Isaac as Poe Dameron, Laura Dern as Holdo, Benicio del Toro as D.J., Billie Lourd as Connix, et al. The director is Rian Johnson, who previously brought us Brick, The Brothers Bloom and Looper.



December 15:


Bingo: The King of the Mornings: Daniel Rezende’s Brazilian film is based on a true story about an actor desperate to be a star just like his mother was. While working in porn and TV soaps he is offered a job to be a TV host, a clown called Bingo. The show is a success but his contract does not allow him to reveal who he is exactly, so he remains an anonymous star. With Vladimir Brichta, Emanuelle Araújo, Raul Barreto, Pedro Bial, Leandra Leal. 

Mountain: Jennifer Peedom’s documentary film shows her friends climbing El Capitanó at Yosemite to a background of chamber music. Willem Dafoe provides the narration written by Robert Macfarlane. 

Mountains May Depart: Zhangke Jia’s film is about two friends who fall for the same girl. She marries one of them, the wealthy one, and they move from China to Australia where their story is played out in three different time zones, 1999, 2014 and 2025. With Tao Zhao, Yi Zhang, Jing Dong Liang, Zijian Dong, Sylvia Chang, Sanming Han. 

The Prince of Nothingwood: French journalist Sarah Kronlund goes to Afghanistan to find film director Salim Shaheen who claims to be a prolific film director. Her resulting documentary is about this charismatic actor-director who is pleasant enough, although his films leave much to be desired. However, he is entertaining and offers a view of Afghanistan that is seldom seen. 

Shot Caller: Ric Roman Waugh wrote and directed this thriller about a man who, on leaving prison, is offered another job with a rival gang. With Jon Bernthal, Holt McCallany, Benjamin  Bratt, Nicolaj Coster-Waldau, Lake Bell, Jeffrey Donovan, Keith Jardine, Lake Bell, Sarah Minich. 

Song of Granite: Writer-director Pat Collins presents a dramatised study of Joe Heaney, a legendary singer of traditional Irish sean nos songs, using a combination of biographical footage and narrative storyline. With Michael O’Chonfhlaola, Macdara Ó Fátharta, Leni Parker, Alain Goulem. 

The Unseen: Jasmine Hyde and Richard Flood play Gemma and Will, a couple whose lives are changed by the death of their son in an accident. Gemma blames herself and has panic attacks, while Will comes to believe he can hear his dead son’s voice. When they move to the country to their friend Paul’s place Will still believes his son is alive and returns home, while Paul begins to have feelings for Gemma’s condition. Written and directed by Gary Sinyor. With Simon Cotton, Sushil Chudasama, Derek Horsham, Dana Haqjoo, Gina Gangar.



December 20:


Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle: Sequel to the first adventure (1995) about kids being trapped inside a magical board game. Here four high-school students find that they are drawn into a game with a jungle setting and that they have to fight their way of the game or stay there for ever. Jake Kasdan directs Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan, Nick Jonas, Bobby Cannavale, Tim Matheson, Colin Hanks.

Pitch Perfect 3: The Barden Bellas are back and have one last chance to perform on tour in Europe. This, we are promised, is the last instalment in what is now a trilogy. Yeh, well, the last film made $287 million. A glittering cast includes Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Hailee Steinfeld, Brittany Snow, Anna Camp, John Lithgow, Ruby Rose, John Michael Higgins and Elizabeth Banks. Trish Sie directs.



December 26:


Bleeding Steel: Jackie Chan plays a special forces agent in China who is trying to protect a young woman from a gang of criminals and in the process begins to feel they have a special bond in that he believes they have met before in another life. With Callan Mulvey, Tess Haubrich, Damien Garvey, Kim Gyngell, Show Lo. Directed by Lijia Zhang and Leo Zhang.



December 26:


The Greatest Showman: Michael Gracey’s musical biographical study of the American politician and businessman who was considered to be the greatest impresario of all time. Phineas Taylor Barnum, of the Barnum & Bailey Circus, was the man who invented show business as we know it, and he coined the phrase “There’s a sucker born every minute”. With Hugh Jackman as P. T. Barnum, Michelle Williams as Charity Barnum, Rebecca Ferguson as Jenny Lind, plus Zac Efron, Zendaya, Paul Sparks.



December 29:


Sanctuary: Writer Len Collin directs Christian (Inside I’m Dancing) O’Reilly’s adaptation of his own play for a film that uses mainly disabled actors in a story of an intellectually challenged couple’s struggles as they fall in love. Because they are unmarried and have to ask for time to spend together unsupervised by their care worker, they plan to bribe him to allow them be together. The film uses both compassion and humour in its message. With Kieran Coppinger, Charlene Kelly, Robert Doherty, Stephen Marcus, Tara Breathnach.



January 1:


Molly’s Game: Jessica Chastain plays Olympic-class skier Molly Bloom who also ran the world’s biggest poker game for ten years until she was arrested by the FBI. Her clients included many Hollywood stars, sports champions, business moguls… and Russian gangsters. With Idris Elba and Michael Kostroff as her lawyers, Kevin Costner as her father, plus Michael Cera, Jeremy Strong, Chris O’Dowd, Bill Camp, Grahame Greene and Whitney Peak. Aaron Sorkin adapted Bloom’s book for his screenplay and makes his debut as director.



January 12:


Darkest Hour: Joe Wright’s seventh film focuses on Winston Churchill during the initial stages of the Second World War. Gary Oldman plays Churchill (amazingly, and by all accounts amazingly well), with Ronald Pickup as Neville Chamberlain, Kristin Scott Thomas as Clementine Churchill and Ben Mendelsohn, Lily James and Stephen Dillane in support. The script is by Anthony McCarten, who previously penned The Theory of Everything.

Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill

Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill


Insidious: The Last Key: The dead horse, which started with James Wan’s genuinely unnerving Insidious seven years ago, is being flogged again. This time, the medium Elise Rainier (Lin Shaye) heads to New Mexico to sort out a haunting. Adam Robitel directs this fourth chapter.



January 19 2018:


The Post: That’s The Post as in The Washington Post and Meryl Streep plays Kate Graham, the newspaper’s publisher. More particuarly, Steven Spielberg’s political thriller centres on the presidential cover-up of its military involvement in Cambodia and Laos during the Vietnam war. Tom Hanks plays the newspaper’s editor, Ben Bradlee. 

The supporting cast includes Sarah Paulson, Bob Odenkirk, Tracy Letts, Bradley Whitford, Bruce Greenwood, Matthew Rhys, Carrie Coon, Alison Brie and Jesse Plemons. 

The Post

Tom and Meryl



February 9 2018:


Cloverfield Movie (aka God Particle): A group of astronauts find themselves stranded in space following a scientific experiment that causes Earth to disappear. Produced by J.J. Abrams, this sci-fi horror film is the third instalment in the Cloverfield franchise and stars Daniel Brühl, Elizabeth Debicki, Aksel Hennie, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Chris O'Dowd, John Ortiz, David Oyelowo and Zhang Ziyi. The Nigerian-born Julius Onah directs.



February 12 2018:


Black Panther: The eighteenth instalment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe sees T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman) return home following the events depicted in Captain America: Civil War. But back in his nation of Wakanda, he finds an old adversary challenge his position as king and protector. And the fall-out could have global consequences. Ryan Coogler, who last directed Creed, wields the megaphone, while Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong'o, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker and Andy Serkis co-star.



April 27 2018:


Avengers: Infinity War: Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth and Chris Pratt criss-cross the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the sequel to Avengers: Age of Ultron. And there’s more: Robert Downey Jr, Josh Brolin, Mark Ruffalo, Tom Hiddleston, Jeremy Renner, Brie Larson, Elizabeth Olsen, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Bettany, Samuel L. Jackson, Cobie Smulders, Zoe Saldana, Karen Gillan, Vin Diesel, Scarlett Johansson, Benicio del Toro, Tom Holland (as Spider-Man) and others in an almighty collision of superheroes. Anthony Russo and Joe Russo orchestrate the very expensive proceedings.



June 8 2018:


Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom: You can't keep a good dinosaur down. There are no plot details yet, but we do know that the filfth installment in the Jurassic Park series stars Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Jeff Goldblum, Toby Jones, Rafe Spall, Geraldine Chaplin and James 'Babe' Cromwell. J.A. Bayona is on the megaphone.