Film Review Daily

Looking Ahead


UK opening dates for new films:



December 6:


The Cave: Feras Fayyad's award-winning Syrian-Danish documentary follows a female doctor (Amani Ballor) during the Syrian Civil War as she cares for the injured while fighting systemic sexism.

Honey Boy: Taking the title from his childhood nickname, Shia LaBeouf documents his early years and relationship with his dad. He wrote the film as part of his rehabilitation programme and plays his own father. Lucas Hedges, Noah Jupe, FKA Twigs, Maika Monroe and Natasha Lyonne co-star, under Alma Har'el's direction.

Human Nature: Adam Bolt’s documentary is about the biggest technical revolution in biological building blocks that has lead us to controlling disease, managing the biosphere and aiding the production of genetically designed children.

Invasion Planet Earth: Action-adventure from writer-director Simon Cox about a man who loses his religious faith following the death of his young daughter. His bad luck deepens when aliens invade Earth on the day that his wife becomes pregnant again. With Simon Haycock, Lucy Drive, Julie Hoult, Danny Steele, Sophie Anderson, Jon Campling and Toyah Wilcox.

The Last Right: In writer-director Aoife Crehan’s comedy-drama, Daniel (Michael Huisman) is left in charge of a corpse of someone he does not know while on a flight from NYC to Ireland, and then has to get the body back to the man’s family. With Samuel Bottomley, Cian Boylan, Brian Cox, Luke Hanlon and Jim Norton.

Lucy in the Sky: Natalie Portman plays the eponymous female astronaut who returns to Earth following a space mission, only to fall in love with fellow astronaut Mark Goodwin (Jon Hamm). With Zazie Beetz, Dan Stevens., Colman Domingo and Ellen Burstyn. Directed and co-written by Noah Hawley.

Motherless Brooklyn: Edward Norton wrote, co-produced, directed and appears in this crime thriller set in NYC in 1957 where Norton’s private investigator has Tourette’s syndrome. Too damned right! Bruce Willis, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Bobby Cannavale, Cherry Jones, Alec Baldwin and Willem Dafoe.

Ordinary Love: A middle-aged woman (Lesley Manville) struggles to come to terms with her breast cancer. Lisa Barros D'Sa and Glenn Leyburn direct from a screenplay by the Northern Irish playwright Owen McCafferty. Liam Neeson and David Wilmot co-star.

So Long, My Son: Chinese film from Wang Xiaoshuai about two families over a period of thirty years. With Wang Jingchun, Yong Mai, Wang Yuan, Xu Cheng, Ai Liya and Du Jiang. Winner of two awards at the Berlin Film Festival. 

So Long, My Son

So Long, My Son


The Whistleblower: Chinese film from Xiaolu Xue about a Chinese expatriate working for an Australian mining company and discovering that their new technology may be a danger to health. With Jiayn Lei, Wei Tang, Xi Qui, John Batchelor and Ce Wang.

The Wolf’s Call: French action-thriller written and directed by Antonin Baudry, about a sound engineer with perfect hearing who can recognize any sound. Somehow he becomes involved in a possible nuclear apocalypse. His team then have to try to prevent another world war. With François Civil, Omar Sy, Mathieu Kassovitz, Reda Kateb and Jean-Yves Berteloot. (Original title: Le chang du loup).



December 11:


Jumanji: The Next Level: The success of Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017) surprised everyone, not least Sony Pictures. Less surprising is the new sequel (Welcome to the Jungle was, itself, a sequel to the original Jumanji of 1995). Here, Spencer has vanished into the world’s most dangerous video game and his friends must team up again to find him. Expect arid deserts and snow-whipped mountains. With Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan, Nick Jonas, Awkwafina and Danny DeVito. Jake Kasdan directs.


December 13:


Black Christmas: This is unusual. This slasher pic set on a sorority campus happens to be a remake of the remake (2006) of the somewhat unremarkable 1974 original Black Christmas. Filmed in New Zealand (on the South Island) with Imogen Poots (below) top-billed.

Imogen Poots



December 19:


Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: Are you excited yet? It’s been a long time coming, but The Rise of Skywalker is the final nail, um, segment, in the nine-part space opera that is Star Wars. It will highlight the end of the on-going tiff between the Jedi and the Sith as well as an almighty clash between the Resistance and the First Order. The good news is that J.J. Abrams returns to the fold, after directing Episode VII – The Force Awakens (2015), the highest-grossing Star Wars film yet. And by salvaging footage from the last two instalments, Carrie Fisher’s Princess Leia will appear in a leading role, thanks to the legerdemain of the various scriptwriters employed on the project. Anthony Daniels, who recreates his turn as the humanoid droid C-3PO, will be the only actor to have appeared in all nine Star Wars films. Others in the cast include Mark Hamill, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Naomi Ackie, Domhnall Gleeson, Richard E. Grant, Lupita Nyong'o, Keri Russell, Ian McDiarmid, Billy Dee Williams, among others.



December 20:


Cats: Tom Hooper’s film of the stage musical adapted from the poetry collection of Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats by T.S. Eliot, with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and a screenplay by Lee Hall and Tom Hooper. With James Corden as Bustopher Jones, Judi Dench as Old Deuteronomy, Jason Derulo as Rum Tum Tugger, Idris Elba as Macavity, Jennifer Hudson as Grizabella, Ian McKellen as Gus the Theatre Cat, Taylor Swift as Bombalurina (below), Rebel Wilson as Jennyanydots, Francesca Hayward as Victoria and Ray Winstone as Growltiger.

Taylor Swift in Cats


The Courier: A London-based courier (Olga Kurylenko) finds that a package she’s transporting is a bomb. And, back in New York, a heinous Gary Oldman tries out one of his interesting accents. Expect some strong violence and bloody imagery. Dermot Mulroney, William Moseley and Amit Shah co-star under Zackary Adler's direction.



December 26:


Little Women: The eighth cinema adaptation of the classic novel by Louisa May Alcott is directed by Greta Gerwig and stars Saoirse Ronan as Jo March, Florence Pugh as Amy March, Emma Watson as Meg March and Eliza Scanlen as Beth March. In addition, Laura Dern plays Marmee March and Meryl Streep is Aunt March. Others in the cast include Timothée Chalamet, James Norton and Bob Odenkirk.

Little Women

Timothée Chalamet and Florence Pugh


Playing With Fire: We all know that children are a match for anybody (cf. Kindergarten Cop with Arnold Schwarzenegger). Here, in this family-friendly comedy, a gang of tough firefighters find themselves outclassed by three kids they have rescued. John Cena, Keegan-Michael Key, John Leguizamo, Brianna Hildebrand, Dennis Haysbert and Judy Greer star under Andy Fickman's direction.

Spies in Disguise: This is the third film this year in which Will Smith has lent his voice to a digital version of himself. In this animated comedy he plays Lance Sterling, the world's most awesome spy who is accidentally turned into a pigeon. From the company that brought us Ice Age and Rio. It’s for kids, of course. Nick Bruno and Troy Quane direct with other voices supplied by Tom Holland, Rashida Jones, Ben Mendelsohn, Rachel Brosnahan and Karen Gillan.



January 1:


The Gentlemen: After toying with family entertainment and the Arabian Nights, Guy Ritchie returns to familiar territory with this highly adult gangster thriller. When a drug dealer decides to offload his criminal empire, he inadvertently triggers a war of unimaginable mayhem. Matthew McConaughey, Charlie Hunnam, Henry Golding, Michelle Dockery, Colin Farrell, Hugh Grant, Jeremy Sisto and Eddie Marsan add some star power.



January 31:


A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood: Last year we had the documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor? about Fred Rogers. Here, Tom Hanks plays the children’s TV presenter, who is befriended by a cynical journalist from Esquire magazine (Matthew Rhys), on whose article the screenplay is loosely based. Susan Kelechi Watson, Chris Cooper and Christine Lahti co-star under Marielle Heller's direction.



February 14:


The King's Man: Matthew Vaughn's new action-comedy features Gemma Arterton as Mata Hari (below), Rhys Ifans as Rasputin and Stanley Tucci as Merlin in a time-dancing romp that sees a gang of historical tyrants and criminal masterminds join forces to create dastardly mayhem. A prequel to the Kingsman series, the film also stars Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Matthew Goode, Tom Hollander, Djimon Hounsou and Ralph Fiennes. 

Gemma Arterton



April 3:


No Time to Die: Daniel Craig stars as 007, with Léa Seydoux as Madeleine Swann, Christoph Waltz as Blofeld, Ralph Fiennes as M, Naomie Harris as Eve Moneypenny, Ana de Armas as Paloma, Lashana Lynch as Nomi and the Oscar-winning Rami Malek in an unspecified role. Cary Joji Fukunaga directs from his screenplay written in collaboration with Scott Z. Burns and Phoebe Waller-Bridge, based on an early draft by Neal Purvis and Robert Wade.



May 8:


Greyhound: Based on the C.S. Forester novel The Good Shepherd, this war film stars Tom Hanks as the commander of an Allied convoy navigating the treacherous waters of the North Atlantic during the Second World War. Elisabeth Shue and Stephen Graham also star, under the direction of Aaron Schneider.

Legally Blonde 3: Reese Witherspoon returns as Ellie Woods. With Jessica Cauffiel as Margot and Alanna Ubach as Serena.