Film Review Daily

Looking Ahead


UK opening dates for new films:



December 14:


Aquaman: More action, more adventure, more fantasy in James Wan’s adaptation of the comic book hero’s third cinematic outing in which Arthur Curry, heir to the underwater kingdom of Atlantis, needs to lead his people against his villainous brother Orm, who is hellbent on underwater world domination. With Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, Willem Dafoe, Patrick Wilson, Dolph Lundgren and Nicole Kidman. 

An Elephant Sitting Still: Hu Bo’s four-hour epic looks at a day in the lives of people living in a rundown northern Chinese town. Three stories become entwined as a teenager, an adultress and a kind old pensioner fantasise about escaping to a place where an elephant sits, ignoring the world about him. 

Free Solo: Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi’s documentary about Alex Honnold, the first person to climb solo the El Capitan mountain formation in Yosemite National Park. 

The House That Jack Built: Thriller from Lars von Trier with Matt Dillon as the title character, showing how he developed as a serial killer over a period of twelve years. With Bruno Ganz, Uma Thurman, Siobhan Fallon Hogan, Sofie Grabol and Ed Speelers.

Lizzie: Chloe Sevigny plays famous nineteenth-century killer Lizzie Borden who strikes up a relationship with her family’s Irish maid, Bridget Sullivan (Kristen Stewart) and together they dispose of Lizzie’s abusive parents. Cue for a song: “You can’t chop your poppa up in Massachusetts/ Not even if it’s meant as a surprise...” With Kim Dickens, Fiona Shaw and Denis O’Hare. Directed by Craig William Macneill. 

1985: The setting is Texas, 1985, when a closeted gay man returns home from living in New York to inform his family he is dying of Aids. Starring Cory Michael Smith with Michael Chiklis, Virginia Madsen, Jamie Chung and Aidan Langford. Written and directed by Yen Tan.



December 21:


Mary Poppins Returns: With Rob Marshall in the director's chair, this is no ordinary sequel. And Emily Blunt, who plays the flying nanny here, showed in Marshall's Into the Woods that she could hold a note. With original songs written by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, the film should appeal to audiences who lapped up La La Land and The Greatest Showman, while the cast is not to be sniffed at. Besides Ms Blunt, the musical boasts Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ben Whishaw, Emily Mortimer, Julie Walters, Dick Van Dyke, Angela Lansbury, Colin Firth, David Warner and Meryl Streep (as Mary Poppins's eccentric cousin). Golly gosh.

Papillon: Remake of Franklin J. Schaffner’s 1973 drama about two men who meet up in a penal colony on Devil’s Island and then plan their escape. With Charlie Hunnam, Rami Malek, Christopher Fairbank and Eve Hewson. Michael Noer directs. 

Polina: Olias Barco’s film from Ukraine in which a young girl goes on a journey to discover the truth about her own life and that of her family. With Polina Pechenenko, Saul Rubinek, Virginie Ledoyen and Jean Reno.



December 26:


Bumblebee: Science fiction action film based on the character from the Transformers series and a prequel to Transformers in 2007. Bumblebee, battle-scarred and broken, hides away in a California junkyard where a teenage girl discovers him. On the run from government agents they find that there are more Transformers on Earth. With Hailee Steinfeld, John Cena, Jorge Lendeborg Jr, John Ortiz and Len Cariou. Directed by Travis Knight. 

Holmes and Watson: Another version in the inexhaustible canon featuring Sherlock Holmes, Doctor Watson and Moriarty. Written and directed by Etan Cohen it features Will Ferrell as Holmes, John C. Reilly as Watson, Ralph Fiennes as Moriarty, Kelly Macdonald as Mrs Hudson, Rebecca Hall as Grace Hart, Hugh Laurie as Mycroft Holmes, Pam Ferris as Queen Victoria, Wolf Roth as Sigmund Freud, Rob Brydon as Inspector Lestrade, plus Noah Jupe and Steve Coogan.



January 1:


The Favourite: Olivia Colman plays Queen Anne but on account of her frailty her best friend Lady Sarah (Rachel Weisz) does the running of the country until a new servant Abigail (Emma Stone) turns up and becomes more than just friendly with Lady Sarah. Abigail then sees a way of returning to her aristocratic roots. Yorgos Lanthimos directs. 

Welcome to Marwen: When Mark Hogancamp (Steve Carell) suffers a violent assault he begins to build a model of a World War II village in miniature. Robert Zemeckis co-wrote and directed the film which was inspired by Jeff Malmberg’s 2010 documentary Marwencol. With Leslie Mann, Diane Kruger, Merrit Weaver and Janelle Monẚe.



January 11:


Colette: Wash Westmoreland’s biopic on the famous French novelist and how she became the most celebrated woman writer in France. With Keira Knightley as Colette, Dominic West as her husband Henry Gauthier-Villars, Eleanor Tomlinson as Georgie, Fiona Shaw as Sido, Denise Gough as Missy and Ray Panthaki as Veber.

Love Sonia: Set in the world of sex trafficking, this is the true story of a woman who tries to rescue her sister. Filmed in Mumbai, Jaipur, Hong Kong and Los Angeles, the film is an Indian production directed by Tabrez Noorani and stars Richa Chadha, Freida Pinto, Demi Moore, Mark Duplass and newcomer Mrunal Thakur.

Love Sonia



Stan & Ollie: Laurel and Hardy remain the world’s most beloved comic duo, but it was not all wine and roses. With their film career in decline, the pair embark on a stage tour of post-war Britain which truly tests the performers’ bond. Steve Coogan plays Stan and John C. Reilly is Ollie, with Shirley Henderson and Danny Huston (as Hal Roach) in support. Jon S. Baird directs.



January 25:


The Mule: Based on an article in The New York Times, this is the true story of a man who becomes a drug trafficker for an international crime syndicate. Nothing odd about that, but this guy happens to be ninety-years-old. Clint Eastwood, a mere 88, plays him and also directs and produces. Bradley Cooper, Laurence Fishburne, Michael Peña, Dianne Wiest and Andy García co-star.

Vice: That’s vice as in vice-president and the man in the hot seat is Dick Cheney, perhaps the most influential VP in American history. Writer-director Adam McKay previously brought us The Big Short with Christian Bale and Steve Carell, both of whom return here to play, respectively, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld. There’s also Amy Adams as Mrs Cheney, Bill Pullman as Nelson Rockefeller and Sam Rockwell as George W. Bush. The Oscar buzz has begun.

Christian Bale as Dick Cheney

Christian Bale as Dick Cheney

February 14:

Instant Family: Mark Wahlberg returns to comedy after the blistering heroics of Mile 22 and is reunited with Sean Anders, director of Daddy’s Home and Daddy’s Home 2. Marky Mark and Rose Byrne play eager parents whose cup runneth over when they adopt three children. Isabela Moner, Octavia Spencer, Margo Martindale and Julie Hagerty co-star.

Instant Family

Mark Wahlberg, Rose Byrne and dependants are an Instant Family


March 1:


Aftermath: Based on the 2013 novel by Rhidian Brook, this drama sees an English woman (Keira Knightey) move into the Hamburg home still occupied by its owner, a German widower (Alexander Skarsgård) and his daughter. It is Keira’s husband, a British colonel (Jason Clarke), who is tasked with helping to rebuild Hamburgh after the Second World War. James Kent (Testament of Youth) directs.

Fighting with My Family: Following his directorial debut, alongside Ricky Gervais, on Cemetery Junction (2010), Stephen Merchant now takes solo control of this biographical comedy-drama. Adapted from the 2012 documentary The Wrestlers: Fighting with My Family, the film focuses on the Bevises, a family of professional wrestlers. Florence Pugh plays Saraya, who signed up to World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc., under the nom de plume of 'Paige.' Dwayne Johnson is executive producer and appears as himself, alongside Jack Lowden, Nick Frost, Lena Headey and Vince Vaughn.


March 22:


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.



March 29:


Dumbo: An elephant with outsize ears is able to fly ("The ninth wonder of the universe! The world's only flyin' elephant!") and is the star attraction of a circus that subsequently falls into the hands of a dastardly entrepreneur. The first of three live-action remakes of animated Disney classics to be released this year, Dumbo is directed by Tim Burton and stars Colin Farrell, Michael Keaton, Danny DeVito, Eva Green, Alan Arkin, Roshan Seth, Finley Hobbins and Thandie Newton's daughter, Nico Parker.


Finley Hobbins, Dumbo and Nico Parker in Tim Burton's Dumbo



February 14, 2020:


Bond 25: Daniel Craig stars as 007. Cary Joji Fukunaga directs.