Film Review Daily

Looking Ahead


UK opening dates for new films:



August 16:


Dora and the Lost City of Gold: James Bobin’s action-adventure finds teenage explorer Dora, who has spent much of her young life exploring the jungle with her parents, going on a journey into the unknown in order to save her parents and discover a lost Inca civilization. Really? With Isabel Moner as Dora, and Eugenio Derbez, Michael Peňa, Eva Longoria and with Benicio del Toro as the voice of Swiper the Fox, Haley Tju as the voice of Isa the Iguana and Danny Trejo as the voice of Boots the Monkey.
Good Boys
: Teen comedy co-written and directed by Gene Stupnitsky about young Max who cannot wait to learn about how to kiss a girl. He and his pals borrow his dad’s drone in order to spy on a teenage courting couple which, of course, leads to hilarious results involving stolen drugs, paintball action, spooking out teenage girls and fleeing from the cops. With Jacob Tremblay as Max, plus Brady Noon, Keith L. Williams, Will Forte, Molly Gordon, Midori Francis, Josh Caras, Stephen Merchant and Michaela Watkins. Producers include Seth Rogen and Jonah Hill.
J T Leroy:
Biographical drama about Savannah Knoop who spent six years pretending to be writer Laura Albert’s pen-name J T Leroy. Written by Knoop and based on her own biography Girl Boy Girl: How I Became J T Leroy, the film is directed by co-author Justin Kelly, with Kristen Stewart as Savannah Knoop, Laura Dern as Laura Albert, plus Diane Kruger, Jim Sturgess, Kelvin Harrison, Courtney Love, James Jagger and Dave Brown.

Leto: Russian musical from director Kirill Serebrennikov about the underground rock music scene in the early 1980s. With Teo Yoo, Roma Bilyk, Irina Starshenbaum, Philip Avdeev, Alexander Gorchlin, Julia Aug and Nikita Yefremov.

Transit: Wartime drama updated to the present time about a man endeavouring to escape the clutches of the Nazis in occupied France by falling in love with the widow of a dead writer and then pretending to be her husband. Adapted from the novel by Anna Seghers and directed by Christian Petzold, with Franz Rogowski, Paula Beer, Godehard Giese, Maryam Zaree and Ronald Kukulies.

UglyDolls: If one should one groan at the thought of another U-rated computer-animated comedy featuring inanimate objects, think again. Yes, the critters who want to be loved for what they are may look predictably annoying, but there’s music afoot. There are original songs from none other than Kelly Clarkson, Nick Jonas and Janelle Monáe, and director Kelly Asbury previously brought us Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, Shrek 2 and Gnomeo & Juliet. Besides, the producer is none other than Robert Rodriguez, on whose story the screenplay is based. Vocals are supplied by Kelly Clarkson, Nick Jonas, Janelle Monáe, Blake Shelton, Pitbull, Emma Roberts, Ice-T, Jane Lynch and Wanda Sykes.



August 21:


Angel Has Fallen: Ric Roman Waugh’s action film about the framing of Secret Service agent Mike Bannin (Gerard Butler) charged with an assassination attempt on the President. With Morgan Freeman, Jada Pinkett Smith, Lance Reddick, Tim Blake Nelson, Piper Parabo, Nick Nolte and Danny Huston.



August 23:


Crawl: Alexandre Aja’s disaster horror movie about a hurricane heading for Florida where swimmer Haley Keller (Kaya Scodelario) is worried for her father (Barry Pepper) and his safety as he is not answering his phone. When she goes in search of him at home, he is not there, although some hungry alligators are... With Ross Anderson, Anson Boon, Jose Palma, George Somner, Ami Metcalf and Moryfydd Clark. Sam (The Evil Dead) Raimi is one of the producers.
A Faithful Man: French romcom (aka L’Homme fidèle) directed by Louis Garrel who co-wrote the screenplay with Jean-Claude Carrière. The plot concerns a relationship that breaks down when the girl leaves her lover for his best friend... only to return after his death. With Louis Garrel, Laetitia Casta, Lily-Rose Depp and Joseph Engel.
Hail Satan?: Penny Lane’s documentary about the Satanic Temple, a cult religious group working to preserve the separation of church and state, while trying to combat the generally negative view of the Satanists and their own inner conflicts within the organisation.

Pain and Glory: A film director past his prime reflects on his life as he is reconciled with an old adversary. For his performance, Antonio Banderas won the best actor award at Cannes this year, while Alberto Iglesias won a gong for his music. Asier Etxeandia, Leonardo Sbaraglia and Penélope Cruz co-star, with Pedro Almodóvar in the director's chair.

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark: Guillermo del Toro is the producer for his own story based on the children’s horror book series by Alvin Schwartz. Set in 1968 in Pennsylvania at Halloween when amateur writer Stella and her friends play a joke on Tommy, the school bully, in a local haunted house, but he locks them in, leaving them to their own devices. With Zoe Colletti, Michael Garza, Gabriel Rush, Austin Abrams, Dean Norris, Gil Bellows and Lorraine Toussaint.



August 30:


Aniara: A Swedish-Danish production co-directed by Pelia Kågerman and Hugo Lilja and based on Harry Martinson’s poem of the same name. It is set in space where climate change has ruined planet Earth. A trip from Earth to Mars goes off course as the passengers find ways of becoming accustomed to their new way of life. With Emelie Jonsson, Bianca Cruzeiro, Arvin Kananian and Anneli Martini.
Bait: In writer-director Mark Jenkin’s film Martin (Edward Rowe) is a Cornish fisherman with no boat as his brother Steven (Giles King) has commandeered it for tourist trips. As Martin tries to keep his family together, he incurs the wrath of the locals and the tourists until an untoward happening occurs... With Simon Shepherd, Mary Woodhouse, Isaac Woodvine, Georgia Ellery, Jowan Jacobs and Stacey Guthrie.
A Guide to Second Date Sex: In writer-director Rachel Hirons’ rom-com Ryan (George MacKay) and Laura (Alexandra Roach) are both in love with Meryl Streep but struggling with how to behave in their own relationship, having learned the hard way through previous experiences that proved unsuccessful. With Michael Socha, Emma Rigby, Gillian Elisa, Tom Palmer, Holi Dempsey and Kae Alexander.
The Informer: The last thing former convict Pete Koslow (Joel Kinnaman) wanted was to be back behind the bars of Bale Hill Prison, New York. But this time he has a mission – and is acting undercover for the FBI. Rosamund Pike (below), Common, Ana de Armas, Clive Owen and Sam Spruell co-star, with Andrea Di Stefano barking the orders. 

The Informer


Inna  de Yard: Music documentary written and directed by Peter Webber about a group of reggae artists looking to appeal to an older generation as well as their younger listeners. With Ken Boothe, Derajah, Kiddus I, Jah9, Kush, Bo Pee, Var, Lloyd Parks, Steve Newland and Judy Mowatt.

Memory: The Origins of Alien: Alexandre O. Philippe’s documentary reveals the untold story behind Ridley Scott’s film of Alien, the roots of which are apparently based on Greek and Egyptian myths, underground comics, the work of painter Francis Bacon and other sci-fi filmmakers. With appearances by Diane O’Bannon, Ivor Powell, Adam Egypt Mortimer, Ben Mankiewicz, Roger Corman and Veronica Cartwright.

The Mustang: Roman Coleman (Matthias Schoenaerts) is a violent criminal – he has left his partner brain-damaged for life – and is placed in a rehabilitation programme. As part of his recovery, he is assigned to train a wild mustang, a horse with whom he forms an unusual bond. The film, directed by Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre, has received rave reviews. Jason Mitchell, Gideon Adlon, Connie Britton and Bruce Dern co-star.

Princess Emmy: Piet De Rycker’s animated feature about Emmy, the titular heroine, the only one in the Kingdom of Kandi who can speak to horses (neigh, lass!). However, her evil cousin Gizana arrives to upset the horse and cart, threatening to ruin Emmy’s chances of becoming a real princess. Voiced by Ruby Barnhill, Kenny Blyth, Tyler Collins, John Hannah, Michael Daviot, Christina Gordon and Tim McInnerny.

The Souvenir: Director Joanna Hogg (of Unrelated and Archipelago fame) has written a screenplay about a young film student in the 1980s who becomes involved with a charismatic but untrustworthy man. With Honor Swinton-Byrne, Tom Burke, Tilda Swinton and Alice McMillan.



September 6:


It Chapter Two: When the second version of Stephen King’s It opened two years ago, it became the highest-grossing horror film of all time, eclipsing even The Sixth Sense and The Exorcist. A sequel, then, was inevitable. The new movie is set 27 years after the first, with the young losers from the first now all grown up and ready to face the evil clown Pennywise all over again… Bill Skarsgård returns as Pennywise, with James McAvoy and Jessica Chastain (below) as the adult Bill and Beverly. Andy Muschietti directs. But, be warned, the film is 169 minutes long.

It ChapterTwo


September 13:


Phoenix: At just thirteen, Jill (newcomer Ylva Bjørkaas Thedin, below) has taken on the role of sole carer for her close-knit family, including her younger brother and unstable mother. Threading in elements of fantasy, this Norwegian drama has received glowing reviews for its debutante director, the actress Camilla Strøm Henriksen.

Phoenix II  

September 18:


Ad Astra: When Roy McBride (Brad Pitt) sets off to the outer edges of the solar system to find his father, he inadvertently threatens the status quo of earth’s place in the cosmos. For his sci-fi mystery, the director James Gray went to huge pains to present the most realistic look at space travel yet committed to screen. Incidentally, the title is Latin for “to the stars.”  Tommy Lee Jones, Ruth Negga, Liv Tyler, Donald Sutherland and Kimberly Elise co-star.



October 4:


Judy: Rupert Goold’s biopic is about the last years in London of the legendary singer and actress Judy Garland, with Renée Zellweger as Garland, Jessie Buckley as Rosalyn Wilder, Judy’s PA, Finn Wittrock as Mickey Deans, Rufus Sewell as Sidney Luft, Michael Gambon as Bernard Delfont, Gemma-Leah Devereux as Liza Minnelli, Bella Ramsey as Lorna Luft, Fenella Woolgar as Margaret Hamilton, John Dagleish as Lonnie Donegan and Darci Shaw as a young Judy.



October 11:


After the Wedding: Bart Freundlich, the husband of Julianne Moore, directs his wife in an American remake of the 2006 Danish melodrama of the same name. Let's hope he manages to bring a more credible note to the proceedings, in which Michelle Williams (below) plays the co-founder of an Indian orphanage who is forced to confront her principles on a trip to New York. Billy Crudup co-stars.

After the wedding


Gemini Man: Will Smith plays a hitman of the future who, when he decides to quit the game, comes up against a clone of himself. Ang Lee directs the sci-fi actioner, with Clive Owen, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Benedict Wong along for the ride.



November 22:


Frozen II: Anna, Elsa, Kristoff and Olaf are back, voiced by Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff and Josh Gad in the Walt Disney Animation Studio’s sequel to its first outing of Frozen in 2013, which was originally inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s story of The Snow Queen.

Frozen II



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



January 17 2020:


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



February 14 2020:


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 8 2020:


Bond 25: Daniel Craig stars as 007, with Léa Seydoux as Madeleine Swann, 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 2020:


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.