Sunday, 31 July 2016

Ansel Elgort set for Dungeons And Dragons

Ansel Elgort (The Fault In Our Stars) was most recently one of the potential candidates to take on the role of the young Han Solo for the Star Wars standalone. While he didn't land that job, he has turned his attention to another fantasy outing, with news arriving via Deadline that he is currently in talks to star in Warner Bros new Dungeons And Dragons film.

Not a lot of specifics are known about the film's plot as yet, though Deadline have heard that it will concern a warrior and his band of mystical cohorts on dangerous quest to find a mythical treasure. Which, to be sure, is just the sort of generic plot you might expect a Dungeons And Dragons movie to have, especially one trying to avoid releasing specifics just yet.

This one has been in development for a while, and was delayed when Hasbro filed a legal claim to the rights. Now, though, it appears to be back on track with David Leslie Johnson (Wrath Of The Titans) writing the script and Rob Letterman (Goosebumps) set to call the shots. How Elgort will fit in won't be known until he actually signs on the dotted line, but we would expect to keep hearing more about this one in the coming months.

Elgort, a stalwart of the Divergent films, will also be seen in Billionaire Boys Club and Edgar Wright's (The World's End) Baby Driver.

Olga Kurylenko set to join Antonio Banderas in Salty

After a somewhat unusual route to the screen – having reached out for some of its financing to audiences – Simon West (The Mechanic) is finally ready to roll cameras on action comedy Salty. With Antonio Banderas (The Skin I Live In) already cast in the lead, news arrives via Screen International that Olga Kurylenko (Oblivion) is set to join him. 

Adapted from the novel of the same name by Mark Haskell Smith (The Inheritance), Salty is being pitched as This Is Spinal Tap (1984) meets The Hangover (2009), with Banderas playing veteran rocker Turk Henry who takes his wife Shiela (Kurylenko) on a luxury holiday. When she gets kidnapped by pirates, Turk must then embark on an unlikely rescue mission.

The film got that crowdfunding part of its support from SyndicateRoom, a Kickstarter style platform that offers equity, rather than rewards. West is currently in production in Chile. "I'm delighted Olga has joined Antonio and the rest of the cast. Her talents in both action and comedy make her the perfect Sheila," he said in a statement carried by Screen International. "I'm excited about the prospect of shooting in Chile, I've been very impressed by what I've found here in terms of talent and wonderful locations – I know we're going to make a great movie."

Kurylenko recently joined Adam Driver (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) in Terry Gilliam's (The Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus) The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, and she is also part of the cast for Armando Iannucci's (Veep) The Death Of Stalin.

First look at Jacob Tremblay in The Book Of Henry arrives online

Nine-year-old Jacob Tremblay is arguably everyone's favourite child actor of the moment, after breaking our hearts in Room (2015) and then fixing them again with a series of charming awards season appearances. The Star Wars fanatic is fulfilling a new dream in his next movie, working with Star Wars: Episode IX director Colin Trevorrow (Jurassic World) in The Book Of Henry.

On the left with the plunger is Jaeden Lieberher (Midnight Special) as child prodigy Henry Carpenter, while on the right is Tremblay as his brother Peter. Written by Gregg Hurwitz, the story sees the pair on a so-far mysterious scheme.

"I wanted to do something that scared the hell out of me," Trevorrow tells Empire magazine of his return to smaller scale filmmaking. "An acoustic movie with intense emotion. The challenge was to give an audience the same tension and thrills they get from a blockbuster, but rely solely on story and character to do it."

The Book Of Henry is out later this year.

New look at Dan Brown adaption Inferno arrives online

Sony Pictures have recently released a new still from Ron Howards (The Da Vinci Code) latest Dan Brown adaption Inferno via Empire magazine.

Mining Dan Brown's work has done rather well for Ron Howard over the years, so it was somewhat inevitable that he would tackle another tome.

Inferno finds Tom Hanks' symbologist Robert Langdon in Italy, grappling with amnesia and a chilling puzzle revolving around Dante's Inferno. He will face a new and cunning adversary and an ingenious riddle that pulls him into a landscape of classic art, secret passageways, and futuristic science. And he will need the help of doctor Sienna Brooks (Felicity Jones), who aids him in recovering his memories even as they head out on his latest quest.

"I have none of the answers and I don't even know what the questions are, so it puts me in a hairy acting experience," Hanks told Empire. "I can't quite be as cool and suave as the Langdon of the previous two films."

Speaking to Empire, Howard describes Inferno as an unique challenge for his Academy Award® winning leading man. "This is the most personal of all these stories as it relates to the Robert Langdon character," says Howard. "It's a great performance opportunity for Tom".

With Omar Sy (X-Men: Days Of Future Past), Ben Foster (3:10 To Yuma), Sidse Babett Knudsen (Borgen) and Irrfan Khan (Life Of Pi) also in the cast, Inferno is out in the UK on 14 October.

Roland Emmerich plans more disaster with Moonfall

Not content with wreaking destruction upon the Earth via alien invaders in both Independence Day movies and using various other methods elsewhere in his output, news arrives via Deadline that Roland Emmerich now has his eye on the moon with a new science fiction outing called Moonfall.

As the title might suggest, things won't be going well for our little satellite world, with the plot described as a blend of Close Encounters Of The Third Kind (1977) and Emmerich's own 2012 (2009), as a group of misfits unite to try to save humanity when the Moon falls out of its orbit and starts to hurtle towards our planet. 

Even though he took potshots at the lunar surface in Independence Day: Resurgence, Emmerich is taking aim via a script he wrote with regular collaborator Harald Kloser and Spenser Cohen, a man well versed in apocalyptic stories himself having written a script called Extinction.

Universal Pictures are backing this one, and it is currently on the fast track, so expect it to get moving shortly. As always, watch this space.

Hannah John-Kamen joins Ready Player One

Hannah John-Kamen has been enjoying a healthy couple of years, with roles in projects such as Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015), the latest season of Game Of Thrones and The Tunnel. Now news arrives via Deadline that she has scored a part in another big movie, with Steven Spielberg (Bridge Of Spies) casting her in Ready Player One.

Adapted from Ernest Cline's book, Ready Player One is set in a world where millions across the planet interact in a virtual space known as Oasis, in which you can be anything you want to be. For Teenager Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan), it is a way to escape his tough life, inside Oasis he uses the avatar Parzival. When the original co-creator of Oasis James Donovan Halliday (Mark Rylance) dies, the Steve Jobs style billionaire offers his fortune and control of Oasis to anyone who can complete an elaborate treasure hunt. Wade naturally starts questing, joined by fellow player Samantha Cook, also known as Art3mis (Olivia Cooke) and threatened by the corporate types looking to ensure they take control. They are represented by the nefarious Nolan Sorrento, played by Ben Mendelsohn (Killing Them Softly). Also aboard is Simon Pegg (Star Trek Into Darkness) as Ogden "Og" Morrow, Halliday's former colleague and one of the other brains behind Oasis. There is no word on which character John-Kamen will play just yet.

Ready Player One recently kicked off shooting ready for a 30 March 2018 release. As for the actress, she will be back on screens in science fiction bounty hunter show Killjoys.

Michael Sheen set to direct and star in Green River Killer

Long since established as one of our reliably great actors, Michael Sheen (Frost/Nixon) is set to step behind the camera for his directorial debut. News arrives via Variety that he has already written the script and will play the lead in the adaptation of Green River Killer.

The new film is based on the graphic novel Green River Killer: A True Detective Story, an Eisner award winning tome created by Jeff Jensen about his father and illustrated by Jonathan Case.

Sheen is playing serial killer Gary Ridgeway, who in 2003 pleaded guilty to 48 charges of first degree murder during the 1980s and 1990s, where he primarily targeted women. He escaped the death penalty by agreeing to help locate the victims. Tom Jensen was the detective put in charge of tracking the man down and finally found him using DNA technology. Once he was in custody, Jensen spent 180 days interviewing Ridgeway to learn his secrets.

"This is a dark story but one that ultimately finds hope and meaning in that darkness," Sheen says in a statement that Variety ran. "The story of Tom and Gary, and how they are bound together in time, pulled me in from the beginning and wouldn't let go. I hope that by now bringing it to life on screen, it can make audiences feel the same way." He will start building the rest of the cast and should be filming this year. Sheen will next be seen in science fiction drama Passengers, which hits the UK on 23 December and he is also back on small screens in Masters Of Sex, which returns in September.

New trailer for Morgan arrives online

20th Century Fox have recently released their latest trailer for Luke Scott's feature debut Morgan.

If Ex Machina (2015) taught us anything, it is that making sentient artificial beings is usually not a good idea. Couple that with the disturbing humming trope and you have the recipe for terror with Morgan.

Morgan, directed by Ridley Scott's (Prometheus) son Luke, finds Kate Mara (The Martian) as a corporate troubleshooter sent to a remote, top secret lab location, where her assignment is to investigate what seems to be a troubling accident. But when she arrives, she discovers that the incident has been trigged by a seemingly innocent, humanlike being, who holds both a promise for the future of technology and an incalculable danger.

Alongside Mara are Toby Jones (Captain America: First Avenger), Rose Leslie (Honeymoon), Boyd Holbrook (Gone Girl), Anya Taylor-Joy (The Witch) and Paul Giamatti (Sideways).

Morgan will arrive in the UK 2 September.

First trailer for The 9th Life Of Louis Drax arrives online

Lionsgate have recently released their first trailer for Alexandre Aja's (Piranha 3D) The 9th Life Of Louis Drax.

Psychological mystery thriller The 9th Life Of Louis Drax has been stuck in a similar limbo to its titular main character, awaiting release since production back in 2014.

The film begins on Louis Drax's (Aiden Longworth) 9th birthday, when he miraculously survives a near fatal fall. His doctor Allan Pascal (Dornan) finds himself tangled between his professional responsibility and his growing affections for the boy's mother (Sarah Gadon). When Louis' father (Aaron Paul) comes under suspicion, Pascal realises other mysterious forces may be at work...

We can expect plenty of other twists and turns from this one, with Oliver Platt (X-Men: First Class) playing Louis' psychologist, Dr. Perez, Molly Parker (The Road) Parker as Detective Dalton, investigating the case and Barbara Hershey (Black Swan) on as Violet, Louis' grandmother. It's all part of the project originated by Anthony Minghella (The English Patient) and shouldered by his son Max after his father's untimely death. He wrote the script based on Liz Jensen's novel and has been shepherding it ever since.

The 9th Life Of Louis Drax arrives in the UK in September.

New trailer and IMAX quad poster for Star Trek Beyond arrives online

Paramount Pictures have recently released their latest trailer and IMAX quad poster for Justin Lin's (Fast & Furious) Star Trek Beyond featuring Sofia Boutella's (Kingsman: The Secret Service) Jaylah.

Star Trek Beyond finds Kirk (Chris Pine), McCoy (Karl Urban), Spock (Zachary Quinto) and the rest of the USS Enterprise crew in the middle of their five-year mission to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new... you know the drill. Despite the excitement and adventure of deep space exploration, the routine of charting the unknown has started to weigh on the captain, who is beginning to question his choices.

But he will be confronted with more than existential malaise when a brand new race, led by the driven Krall (Elba) seriously attacks the ship, leaving the crew separated, stranded and facing their biggest challenge yet.

With Star Trek veterans Zoe Saldana, John Cho, Anton Yelchin, Deep Roy and Simon Pegg (who also co-wrote the script with Doug Jung) all returning alongside Joe Taslim (The Raid: Redemption) and Sofia Boutella (Kingsman: The Secret Service), Star Trek Beyond is out now and you can read our review right here.

"Everyone is afraid of the dark, and that's what she feeds on."

Warner Bors have recently released their latest trailer for David F. Sandberg's feature debut Lights Out.

Horror movies often like to play with our primal fears of darkness, and now here comes the latest effort to send those shivers creeping up our collective spines.

Directed by Swedish filmmaker David F. Sandberg and adapted from his original short film (which you can watch here) with a script by Eric Heisserer (The Thing), the film finds Rebecca (Teresa Palmer) dealing with what happens when he childhood fears and trauma seem to be coming back to haunt her and her little brother Martin (Gabriel Bateman). There is a creature that appears only when the lights go out, and that will do anything to make sure it gets close to them... Rebecca's safety and sanity will be tested again alongside her mother Sophie (Maria Bello) and on and off boyfriend Bret (Alexander DiPersia).

With James Wan and Heisserer serving as producers on the film, this certainly promises a chilling atmosphere and the sort of scares Wan is usually found providing in films such as The Conjuring (2013).

Lights Out will arrive in the UK on 19 August.

First trailer for Ewan McGregor's American Pastoral arrives online

Lionsgate have recently released their first trailer and one sheet for Ewan McGregor's (The Impossible) directorial debut American Pastoral.

Adapted from Philip Roth's Pulitzer Prize winning novel by John Romano (The Lincoln Lawyer), American Pastoral finds McGregor in the starring role alongside Dakota Fanning (The Runaways) and Jennifer Connelly (Blood Diamond). They are a seemingly picturebox family, suddenly torn apart by an act of violence involving their radicalised daughter (Fanning).

Set against the backdrop of post-war America, American Pastoral has McGregor's successful businessman and athlete Seymour 'Swede' Levov unravelling as the nation's social upheaval winds a destructive path into his own family.

With Uzo Aduba (Orange Is The New Black), Molly Parker (Deadwood), Rupert Evans (Hellboy) and Valorie Curry (The Following) also in the cast, American Pastoral arrives in the UK on 4 November.

New images for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story arrive online

Walt Disney Pictures and Lucasfilm have recently released a fresh batch of images for Gareth Edwards' (Godzilla) Rogue One: A Star Wars Story via Entertainment Weekly.

First up is a closer look Ben Mendelsohn's (Killing Them Softly) Director Orson Krennic, who oversees the security of the Death Star project, which given what happens to the plans, means we doubt things will end well for Orson.

Also on the Imperial side are Stormtroopers launching an attack on Jedah, a planet that Edwards describes as "this sort of South Pacific, tropical paradise planet that subconsciously leads into some of the imagery associated with World War II."

More troopers, this time the elite Deathtroopers, with one holding a Stormtrooper doll we are told will make sense in the larger context of the film.

Our hero this time, or at least our conflicted central figure. Felicity Jones' (The Theory Of Everything) Jyn Erso on a very personal mission since her father's (Mads Mikkelsen) knowledge is something both the Rebels and the Imperials are seeking.

Two of Erso's comrades on her mission here, Donnie Yen (Ip Man) as Chirrut Imwe, a blind warrior monk with serious abilities and the protection of Baze Malbu (Jiang Wen), who has little time for Imwe's talk of the force.

Set between Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge Of The Sith (2005) and Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977), Rogue One: A Star Wars Story follows a group of Rebel soldiers who set out on a dangerous mission to steal the plans for the original Death Star and bring hope to the galaxy. For more images from the film, head over to Entertainment Weekly's website.

Alongside Jones, Mendelsohn, Mikkelsen, Yen and Wen are Diego Luna (Milk), Riz Ahmed (Ill Manors), Forest Whitaker (Lee Daniels' The Butler), Alan Tudyk (Serenity), Jonathan Aris (Sherlock), Eunice Olumide (World War Z), and Genevieve O'Reilly reprising her role from Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge Of The Sith (2005) as young Mon Mothma.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is released worldwide on 16 December.

"Women would kill to look like this."

Icon Films have recently released their latest TV spot for Nicolas Winding Refn's (Drive) new thriller The Neon Demon.

Refn's latest trip into the dark heart of culture and humanity finds the likes of Elle Fanning (Super 8), Jena Malone (Sucker Punch), Karl Glusman (Starship Troopers: Invasion), Bella Heathcote (Dark Shadows), Abbey Lee, Christina Hendricks (Drive), Desmond Harrington (Dexter) and Keanu Reeves (John Wick) in the story of aspiring model Jesse (Fanning) moving to the City Of Angels only to find that it hides some very dark terrors.

According to the official synopsis: "Her youth and vitality are devoured by a group of beauty-obsessed women that will do anything to take what she has." So pretty much business as usual in LA, then. But though she is quickly a target for envious others and those who would exploit her, the footage suggests that Jesse isn't quite as vulnerable as she might first appear.

With Mary Laws and Polly Stenham (Playhouse Presents) co-writing alongside the director, The Neon Demon is out in the UK now.

More Indiana Jones films planned after the fifth

We have known for some time that Walt Disney Pictures were planning more Indiana Jones films, and that a fifth is already in development with Steven Spielberg once again behind the camera and Harrison Ford back in the fedora. Now, though, Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Iger, talking on a number of topics with The Hollywood Reporter, reveals that the future still includes the potentially sacrilegious notion of a reboot.

Though Iger dismisses talk of a Star Wars style universe for the Indiana Jones movies, he does drop mention of future plans, which are obviously at a very early stage. "Right now, we're focused on a reboot, or a continuum and then a reboot of some sort. We'll bring him back, then we have to figure out what comes next. That's what I mean. It's not really a reboot, it's a boot – a reboot. I don't know." While that sort of statement can best be described as 'clear as mud', you had to figure the company would want to keep the film series going.

As for what form that future will take is unclear at this point. "I've had discussions about what the direction is, but I don't want to get into it," says Iger. "I see making more. It won't be just a one-off."

It certainly looks as though Ford will be hanging up the hat at some point, with someone else doing the adventuring. We would figure a different character – not someone playing Indy himself – but for now the original Indy will be back on our screens in 2019.

Miranda Otto and Stephanie Sigman join Annabelle sequel

As The Conjuring 2 spawns its own spin-off featuring the demonic nun, the first film's prequel Annabelle (2014), has its own sequel on the way. Now we know two of the people who will be terrorised by the scary titular doll, with news arriving via The Hollywood Reporter that Miranda Otto  (War Of The Worlds) and Stephanie Sigman (Miss Bala) are aboard.

Director David F. Sandberg, whose feature debut Lights Out has positive buzz after some initial screenings, is busy preparing to make the new movie, which from the sounds of it is actually a prequel to the prequel.

Annabelle 2's plot is focused on the doll maker who created the grinning fiend in the first place. 20 years after their daughter died tragically, the craftsman and his scarred wife (Otto) welcome a nun and several girls from an orphanage that recently had to close. Unfortunately for the new arrivals, the possessed doll is none too pleased with the added house guests. Sigman, whose casting was revealed by Variety, is set to play Sister Charlotte.

Gary Dauberman (Annabelle) wrote the script, with The Conjuring (2013) director man James Wan (who also worked with Sandberg on Lights Out) once again producing alongside Peter Safran. Annabelle 2 should be haunting UK screens on 26 May next year.

Tom Hardy set to play war photographer Don McCullin

Currently busy working once again with Christopher Nolan (Inception) on Dunkirk, Tom Hardy is lining up another new project that will see him heading into combat zones. News arrives via Deadline that he is set to play legendary British war photographer Don McCullin in a new film.

Working Title duo Eric Fellner and Tim Bevan (The Big Lebowski) are producing this one, with Gregory Burke ('71) adapting the script from McCullin's autobiography, Unreasonable Behaviour. 

The book follows McCullin from his early days as a poverty stricken child in London during World War II to his life working for the Sunday Times. From the late 1960s to the early 1980s, he travelled to the likes of Vietnam, Cambodia and Uganda, chronicling the devastating effects of war on both those who fight and those caught up in it.

Hardy has several projects in the works, including miniseries Taboo, which will be on screens next year. He is also attached to two animal poaching dramas and game adaptation Splinter Cell. Dunkirk will land on our screens on 21 July next year.

Charlotte Rampling joins Eva Green in Euphoria

With Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina) and Eva Green (300: Rise Of An Empire), already aboard, Swedish writer and director Lisa Langseth (Pure) is adding some English power to her new film, Euphoria. News arrive via Screen International that Charlotte Rampling (Swimming Pool) is joining the cast.

Euphoria is described as the story of two estranged sisters (presumably Vikander and Green), who make a journey through Europe to a mystery destination, a trip full of suffering, but also of joy. How Rampling fits in has yet to be announced.

The film marks Langseth's English language debut, and both Langseth and Vikander have a history together, having worked on Swedish films Pure (2009) and Hotel (2013). This new one is also notable for Vikander acting as producer for the first time via her new company Vikarious Productions. Langseth should have the cameras rolling this August in the German Alps.

Rampling, who scored an Academy Award® nomination for 45 Years (2015), has a few films awaiting release, including Sculpt, Seances and The Sense Of An Ending.

Alicia Vikander in talks for Agatha Christie film

Her books are constantly being adapted in some way – Kenneth Branagh's (Cinderalla) new version of Murder On The Orient Express being the latest example – but Agatha Christie's own life story is eminently suited to biopics and other films. Sony Pictures are counting on that, with news arriving via The Hollywood Reporter that Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina) wants to play Christie in a movie about the crime author.

The studio's take on Christie's life would see her eschewing a quiet time as a wife during her younger years, instead choosing to spend time with contemporaries such as Winston Churchill and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Vikander is only considering the role at this time, but there is some added impetus to get the movie going, as Paramount Pictures currently have their own take – simply known as Agatha right now – that has been been bubbling away in development for a few years. When we last heard about it, the project had Will Gluck (Easy A) attached to direct a film about the time the legendary mystery writer went missing for 10 days in 1926. No mention is made of the director in The Hollywood Reporter's feature, but the trade mag does mention that Emma Stone (The Help) is top of the wish list to play the young Christie, so perhaps his influence is still being felt.

Before anything can really happen, however, there is the matter of approval from the Christie estate – indeed, the team behind Murder On The Orient Express went through seven years of legal negotiation before the Branagh version could even be considered. So whichever project makes it to the post first will likely be the one to win the stamp of approval from the Christie family.

"This is where it begins, Captain. This is where the frontier pushes back!"

Well received upon its initial release, J.J. Abrams' Star Trek Into Darkness (2013) has since undergone a recalibration and a re-evaluation. Criticised for being too dark, for its blatant riffing on previous series entries such as Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan (1982), and for simply not feeling like a Star Trek movie.

Star Trek Beyond feels like a reaction to that reaction. Here is a movie where the emphasis is on good, old fashioned fun, and that feels, in a good way, almost like an extended episode of the original Star Trek TV show, right down to stranding the crew of the USS Enterprise on an alien world where the sets sometimes feel fashioned out of polystyrene. It is a movie that, in almost every word of Simon Pegg and Doug Jung's (Confidence) script, is a direct response to the fans' criticisms.

That kind of fan service can, of course, be dangerous, and Star Trek Beyond is not without its flaws. But the key tweak here is a welcome one. Namely, a new focus on Chris Pine's Kirk, Zachary Quinto's Spock, and Karl Urban's Bones. That trio were the beating heart of the original iteration of Star Trek, but in terms of scenes together, they have been largely lacking in this new, younger quise. Indeed, Urban has talked about his reluctance to return for this instalment, and given how McCoy was reduced to virtual cameo status in Star Trek Into Darkness, you couldn't have blamed him if he had walked. But here, he is given so much more to do, as Bones and an injured Spock become a virtual double act, bantering and bickering with each other as they face what seems to be near certain death. Quinto is also excellent in these scenes, which allow him to further showcase Spock's humanity without ever compromising the character's emotional core.

Pine is the standout here, though, as Kirk wrestles with the ghost of his father, and a monumental career decision. Once again, the actor strikes the perfect blend of swaggering action hero, thoughtfulness and occasional William Shatner nuance. There is a moment during a third act action scene that should, by any rights, be utterly ridiculous, yet Pine sells it with nothing more than a gleam in his eye and a typically Kirk smirk.

In an ensemble movie, heavy emphasis on some characters may mean others are somewhat underserved, and that does happen here. Even though the film's structure allows new director Justin Lin (Fast & Furious) to split the Enterprise's crew into different factions and place the emphasis on resourcefulness and teamwork as they try to figure out a way off the rock they are stranded upon, there is still not a huge amount for Zoe Saldana's Uhura, John Cho's Sulu and the late Anton Yelchin's Chekov to do. Elsewhere, Pegg's Scotty is a little more involved, joining forces with Sofia Boutella's (Kingsman: The Secret Service) native survivalist Jaylah. Her striking monochrome look and ability to multiply herself holographically certainly make her and interesting addition to the line-up. Abrams may have moved on from the Star Trek reboot, but his biggest legacy was in casting these roles perfectly, and there is a joy to be gleaned from watching them interact.

If there is one area in which the film suffers as a result of pushing back against the previous movie, it is in the choice of villain. For all his faults, Benedict Cumberbatch's Khan was a glorious highlight of Star Trek Into Darkness, always needling away at our heroes, always front and centre, so much so that if felt at times as though Kirk and his crew were occasionally cameoing in their own movie.

Krall, again, seems like a direct response to that. After an eye-catching entrance, Krall retreats to the edges of the movie, his motivations initially unclear, his grand plan somewhat ill-conceived in design. He is a mystery rather than a fully fledged character, and when we do catch up with him, he monologues in the standard tones of the many nondescript nemeses that have gone before him. You sense that he is a character whose anti-Federation viewpoint is designed to spark debate – is Starfleet really a good thing? But the answer is obviously yes, and so the debate quickly dies. Sadly, there is precious little in Krall's words or deeds to suggest why an actor as talented as Idris Elba (Prometheus) would subject himself to hours of prosthetics.

Those concerned by the hiring of Lin to replace Abrams need not be. Yes, he is the man who revitalised the Fast And Furious franchise by taking it in a gloriously over the top direction, but here he dials down that freneticism for something more considered. The film is relatively low on the explosions front, and there are whole scenes here where the camera barely moves. But when the action does start, he is more than capable of handling it, most notably in the bravura extended sequence when the Enterprise is torn apart by Krall's seemingly unstoppable swarm of ships. And throughout it all, there is a lovely reverence for the legacy of Star Trek.

Powered by a spirited sense of adventure and a teamwork dynamic, Star Trek Beyond is a return to fun and form for the rebooted franchise that serves as a sensitive send-off for both Yelchin and Leonard Nimoy.

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

First trailer for Keep Up With The Joneses arrives online

20th Century Fox have recently released their first trailer for Greg Mottola's (Superbad) latest comedy Keep Up With The Joneses.

The film finds Zach Galifianakis (The Hangover) and Isla Fisher (Now You See Me) as a typical ordinary suburban couple who find themselves struggling to keep up with the Joneses, played in this particular case by Jon Hamm (Mad Men) and Gal Gadot (Fast & Furious 6). The struggle becomes ever more real when it turns out that Mr & Mrs Jones are in fact spies, embroiling the peaceful suburbs in action and espionage.

With Greg Mottola calling the shots, who has quietly made some of the wittiest and most charming comedies of the last few years – such as Superbad (2007), Adventureland (2009) and Paul (2011) – and a script from Michael LeSieur (You, Me And Dupree), this is certainly one to look out for.

Keeping Up With The Joneses is out in the US 21 on October, before a UK release a week later on 28 October.

Eli Roth and Jim Carrey set for new Amblin horror movie

Steven Spielberg's Amblin Entertainment are best known for horror flicks of the family friendly variety, famously including Gremlins (1984) and most recently Monster House (2006). Time will tell where Eli Roth's (Hostel) Aleister Arcane is pitched on the gore spectrum – at the family friendly end too would imagine – but it does now boast the rubbery faced charms of Jim Carrey (Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind). 

Carrey is starring in and executive producing the long in development adaption of Steven Niles' IDW comic book, that has been adapted by Jon Croker (The Woman In Black 2: Angel Of Death).

If you are unfamiliar with the comic book, it follows a local TV horror presenter and former LA weatherman Aleister Arcane (presumably Carrey) who is forced off the air by unsympathetic suits in the town of Jackson, Oklahoma. The towns' kids are the only ones who make the effort to befriend the old dude, which is handy when he dies and curses the whole place, because they are the only ones who may be able to lift the hex.

It should certainly be juicy terrain for Carrey to scare up a storm, and a handy showcase for some talented child actors. Roth, meanwhile, has plenty going on, including directing Bruce Willis (Looper) in the Death Wish reboot.

Abraham Attah joins Spider-Man: Homecoming

The casting process for Spider-Man: Homecoming continues at full pelt as director Jon Watts (Cop Car) kicks off production on the latest incarnation of the friendly neighbourhood web slinger. News arrives via Deadline that Ghana-born actor Abraham Attah (Beasts Of No Nation) has joined Spider-Man: Homecoming.

While there is no word on who Attah will be playing, he is high school age, so it wouldn't be a stretch to see him pop up as one of Spidey's peers at Midtown High.

With Kevin Feige and Amy Pascal overseeing the film for Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures and under their pact to share the character, Spider-Man: Homecoming finds Tom Holland's (The Impossible) Peter Parker dealing with events following Captain America: Civil War. He is back in Queens and must juggle the stresses and strains of high school and family life (alongside Marisa Tomei's Aunt May) while taking on villains such as Michael Keaton's (Birdman) Vulture.

He will have some help from Stark, as Robert Downey Jr. is on board to appear, and will face problems from a villain still shrouded in mystery (though expected to be the Vulture), played by Michael Keaton (Birdman).

Attah is just the latest casting, alongside Hannibal Buress (Bad Neighbours 2), Isabella Amara (The Boss), Jorge Lendeborg Jr. (Graceland), J.J. Totah (Glee)Michael Barbieri (Little Men), Tony Revolori (Dope), Laura Harrier (The Last Five Years), Logan Marshall-Green (Prometheus), Martin Starr (Silicon Valley) and singer and actress Zendaya.

Cop Car (2015) director Jon Watts recently started cranking the cameras, and the film is scheduled to swing into UK cinemas on 7 July next year.

Attah, meanwhile, will next be seen in Christian Loubek's Buffalo, a film from Spotlight production house Anonymous Content.

Roland Emmerich discusses Independence Day 3

With his Independence Day (1996) sequel, Independence Day: Resurgence, currently invading our cinemas, Roland Emmerich is naturally turning his thoughts to apocalypses new. If the box office takings warrant it, a third Independence Day instalment will likely follow. A storyline for which is already percolating in the writer and director's mind. 

"The next one will be an intergalactic journey," Emmerich tells Empire magazine. "It'll be [set] maybe a year or two later, not 20 years [on]. I want to maintain this group of people, especially the young characters, and Jeff [Goldblum] and Brent [Spiner] will take part in it. It'll be fun to keep that group together." Would this famously sequel shy filmmaker hand the reins to another director? Not likely. "Will I definitely direct it? Oh yes. I'd never, ever let someone else do it."

One of Independence Day: Resurgence's plot threads sees a benevolent alien race arrive in our orbit with news of a giant intergalactic civil war. This conflict has alien races joining forces against the invaders currently threatening Earth. In a possible third part, humanity will be joining that fight. "I imagine them now going in one of these ships they've rebuilt into a wormhole," explains Emmerich, adding: "I think it'll be the classic of going into space but it has to be about Earth, and we have a really good idea for that."

As always, watch this... well... space. In the meantime, Independence Day: Resurgence is out in cinemas now and you can read our review right here.

Box office meltdown as Hollywood struggles to win back summer audiences

From Jaws (1975) to Jurassic Park (1993), few directors can rival Steven Spielberg in the blockbuster arena. But even Spielberg's magic touch couldn't save The BFG at the US box office.

On paper, the $140 million adaptation of Roald Dahl's beloved children's book, scripted by the late Melissa Mathison (E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial), had all the makings of a hit. Instead, the movie collapsed at the multiplexes, eking out less than $20 million in its opening weekend.

It is a staggering fall for one of cinema's highest flying talents – a director whose finger was affixed to the pulse of mainstream tastes for decades. Yet The BFG is only the latest high profile casualty in a summer that has seen a slew of big budget domestic bombs. Indeed, red ink has spilled out from such misses as Alice Through The Looking Glass, Warcraft, The Legend of Tarzan and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, each of which had production budgets north of $130 million, along with steep global marketing and distribution costs. The failures could cost their studios tens of millions of dollars.

More troubling is what the downturn may portend for the future of the film business and moviegoing overall.

"The theater business has weaker prospects going forward than at any time in the last 30 years," says media analyst Hal Vogel. "It's encountering visible strain this summer. It's a superhero, mega-blockbuster, tentpole strategy run amok. There's too much of it, and it's not working."

Those weak prospects will likely affect financing. Chris Spicer, Akin Gump entertainment and media partner, says investors may move away from film into other media, such as gaming or virtual reality. "They will look at financing opportunities in the broader media context," he argues.

There have been hits though, particularly for Walt Disney Pictures, with Pixar Animation Studios' Finding Dory and Marvel's Captain America: Civil War together racking up $1.8 billion worldwide.

Year to date, receipts are up 2%, thanks largely to winter hits such as Deadpool and Zootopia. Blockbuster season is a different story. Ticket sales are down roughly 10% this summer, but the slide is more precipitous than those numbers suggest. Rising ticket prices, fuelled by 3D, IMAX and other premium formats, have enabled the industry to paper over a huge gulf in attendance. On a per-capita basis, the moviegoing audience is at its lowest levels in nearly a century. Most disturbing, millennials are avoiding theatres altogether.

The audience of 18 to 39-year-olds has declined over the past five years, according to the Motion Picture Association of America.

"There are pockets of age groups and demographics that have not been inspired by what they're seeing in movie theaters," says Bud Mayo, president of Carmike Cinemas' alternative programming and distribution division. "With social media, the reaction time is instantaneous. If kids don't like it, word spreads."

As studios cater to fanboys, flooding theatres with superhero films and diving deeper into the comic book canon, the business becomes more niche. Frequent moviegoers, defined as those who go to theatres at least once a month, are responsible for nearly half of domestic revenue. In 2015, total tickets purchased by this group increased by 2.9 million, but the ranks of these habitual consumers fell by 3.7 million.

At the same time, TV and online content continues to be compelling, with production values that rival those on the big screen. For a new generation of cinephiles, Ned Stark being separated from his head on Game Of Thrones, or Walter White cooking meth in his underwear in Breaking Bad, are pop culture totems. Little of what is in multiplex cinemas has that kind of impact.

"There has been a shift in the way that people are consuming content, and it's moving away from the big screen," says Bruce Nash, founder of the box office tracking site The Numbers.

Producer Mike Medavoy says the box office malaise is symptomatic of the larger problem of engaging moviegoers who have a wide variety of alternatives, from Netflix to Pokémon Go. "I've been deeply concerned for a long time by the fact that there are so many other options besides movies," he says. "Millennials can play games or watch movies at home on a big screen, so repeating the same kind of content over and over [at the movie theater] doesn't really make sense. If you don't give people something that's fresh and new, they're not going to show up."

It is a looming disaster that has been more than a decade in the making. Much of it is self-inflicted, brought about by a mixture of greed and fear, aided by a profound and troubling lack of imagination. The consequences add up to a business that feels increasingly irrelevant.

What is clearly lacking is originality. So far, only one new blockbuster franchise has emerged out of the summer – Illumination Studios' The Secret Life Of Pets. Warner Bros' big budget bet, Suicide Squad, a hotly anticipated superhero movie, is tracking well, but it is not entirely new, springing from the DC Comics expanded cinematic universe.

Today, though, it is hard to predict which movies will resonate with audiences and which will be spurned. To safeguard against the vagaries of popular taste, studios have banked increasingly on sequels and spinoffs, with diminishing returns. That hasn't meant just cooking up new chapters in popular franchises, it means raiding the pop culture waste bin to revive mouldy, dimly remembered pieces of intellectual property.

20th Century Fox resurrected Independence Day (1996), only to find that audiences had little interest in revisiting the alien invasion story 20 years after it took the box office by storm. Likewise, Sony Pictures have been trying to reinvigorate Ghostbusters (1984) three decades after the paranormal investigators hung up their proton packs. But, as Variety critic Peter Debruge noted in his review of the new film, which debuted to middling receipts, Sony's female led relaunch "suffers from a disappointingly strong case of déjà vu" and lacks its own identity.

And that's not all: Studios have other pricey remakes in the works, including another Blade Runner (1982), a remake of Ben-Hur (1959), the umpteenth Spider-Man reboot, more XXX adventures, and a fourth Beverly Hills Cop. Spielberg also will return to the well, reuniting with a 73-year-old Harrison Ford on a fifth Indiana Jones film, despite the fact that the Indy outing, Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull (2008), represented a low point for the series. Depending on your perspective, having Indiana Jones crack his bullwhip once more is either cinematic validation that seniors today lead longer, more active lives, or an indication of Spielberg and Ford's refusal to leave the stage gracefully.

X-Men: Apocalypse, My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2, and London Has Fallen are just a few of the high profile sequels that performed worse than previous instalments in their franchises.

Back in 2010, Walt Disney Pictures' Alice In Wonderland topped $1 billion globally, but six years later, the follow-up Alice Through The Looking Glass has made barely a quarter of that, and could result in a $100 million writedown. Other flops, such as Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising, Ride Along 2, and The Huntsman: Winter's War raise questions about the knee-jerk impulse to create sequels. Were these characters so beloved, and were their stories so rich, that audiences demanded part two?

"It may be a fantasy of mine as a creative producer, but I hope this will remind the studios that you could make five really good movies for the cost of one sequel to a movie that didn’t merit a sequel," says Matt Baer, producer of Unbroken (2014).

"The sequels that have the most trouble are those that try to hew too closely to the style and format of the originals", says one Hollywood producer. Independence Day: Resurgence, which merely upped the size of the alien invasion, left many audiences cold. While Marvel and Walt Disney Pictures' third Captain America outing, Joe and Anthony Russo's Captain America: Civil War, kept viewers craving more.

J.J. Abrams' Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens signalled to audiences months in advance that it would not just roll out Han Solo and Princess Leia again and hope for the best. This fresh take was announced in the trailer when a Storm Trooper not only pulled off his mask (itself a novelty), but also revealed a new character, played by John Boyega, showing the franchise's commitment to more diversity in casting.

Yet such new thinking has been the exception. Instead of pulling back with their sequels, studios continue to plough ahead, announcing follow-ups even before a first film hits theatres. Lionsgate, for example, plans to make seven Power Rangers movies – never mind that audiences won't get a peek at the rebooted version of the Mighty Morphin team until 2017.

After coming down with a case of Marvel envy, Warner Bros unveiled a sprawling DC Comics expanded cinematic universe, scheduled to deliver up to two superhero films a year through 2020. But things got off to a rocky start after Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice bowed to withering reviews and tepid fan reception – even though the film grossed $873 million worldwide, some say it needed to do more to justify the creation of sequels. Now, the studio must retune the engine in mid flight, promising to fix tonal issues on Justice League, its 2017 answer to The Avengers (2012).

Universal Pictures have been deeply engaged in its own universe building. The studio has tapped Alex Kurtzman and Chris Morgan to oversee the creation of intersecting monster movies featuring the likes of the Mummy and Dracula. Those films will begin rolling out next year.

As Walt Disney Pictures proved with Marvel, the rewards for getting it right can be limitless.

Hits spawn toy lines, theme park rides, stage shows, and many untold riches that come with success. However, the costs associated with launching these franchises is ever escalating, and the dangers of making a false move can be cataclysmic.

All is not equal at the box office. Fewer movies now account for a greater proportion of ticket sales. In 2015, five films were responsible for a staggering 25% of ticket sales. As media analyst Doug Creutz noted in a recent report, the top five films from 2000 to 2014 averaged 16% of grosses.

This year, the trend of a higher concentration of box office wealth is continuing. When a film hits, the rewards are huge. Halfway through 2016, six films have topped $300 million domestically – that's double the number that hit that milestone in all of 2014.

But as the highs get higher, the lows get lower. Though 2015 saw the two biggest domestic openings in history – the $248 million bow of Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens and the $209 million debut by Jurassic World – it also included some of the lowest grossing wide release bows in history. Victor Frankenstein, Burnt, We Are Your Friends, Jem And The Holograms, and Rock The Kasbah rank among the worst debuts for films released on more than 2,000 screens. This year, Hardcore Henry, a point-of-view thriller that sparked a bidding war at the Toronto Film Festival, joined their ranks.

The income gap is being felt in another way. Walt Disney Pictures spent more than $15 billion to snap up Pixar, Lucasfilm, and Marvel, giving the company the rights to Iron Man, Toy Story, Luke Skywalker, and scores of other iconic characters. That pop culture arsenal has allowed Disney to dwarf its rivals.

"They've had hit after hit this year," says Eric Handler, an analyst with MKM Partners. "It's incumbent on the other studios to up their game."

Walt Disney Pictures are responsible for four of the year's five highest grossing films. It has crossed the $5 billion mark at the box office at a record clip. And the Burbank studio's revenues tower over those of its big studio brethren – the company has gobbled up 31.3% of domestic market share. Its closest competitor, 20th Century Fox, commands roughly half that, with 16.9% of ticket sales.

If Disney were to rename its animated classic after the current studio scene, it would be "Snow White And The Six Dwarfs," Creutz quips, counting Lionsgate with the five other major studios.

That certainly raises questions about whether the business can continue to sustain this many studios. At the Sun Valley media conference earlier this month, Barry Diller, the former 20th Century Fox and Paramount Pictures chief, predicted that the movie industry will soon experience consolidation. "It will contract," he said.

"Each studio has the incentive to follow the formula of making sequels and tentpole films like Disney, even though, collectively, the strategy means further cannibalization, since audiences won't support the surfeit of big films coming to the cineplex", Creutz says.

He argues that by making a narrow range of films, the studios "have gotten themselves in the position that they are in, and really constrained the interest of the audience to go to the movies at all. They are essentially wrecking their own economics."

And it would appear to be lonely on the A-list. As the business focuses on comic book movies featuring masked avengers, the clout of the men and women who save the planet on screen has diminished. The club of actors and actresses who can open a movie with their name above the title has plunged in recent years. It is a group in the single digits, one whose members include Jennifer Lawrence (The Hunger Games), Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man), and, maybe, Tom Cruise (Edge Of Tomorrow) and Will Smith (I Am Legend). With the exception of Lawrence, these actors are middle-aged and have been in the public eye since the 1980s and 1990s.

The bloodletting has continued in recent months too. Johnny Depp's days of commanding $20 million a picture evaporated when Alice Through The Looking Glass flatlined. Pairing Russell Crowe (Noah) and Ryan Gosling (Drive) in The Nice Guys and sending them on an extensive media tour failed to excite people about the R-rated comedy. And even Academy Award® winning Matthew McConaughey wasn't powerful enough to rescue Free State Of Jones.

From Dances With Wolves (1990) to The Passion Of The Christ (2004), the history of the movie business is rich with instances of stars using their box office prowess to bankroll challenging films that wouldn't otherwise see the light of day. Without star clout to get passion projects made, studios aren't taking big swings. That means many of the types of movies that have been held in the highest regard are nearly impossible to will into existence.

"Studios aren't making the kinds of films they made a decade ago, the ones that skewed toward adults," says Celine Rattray, an executive producer on American Honey and a producer on The Kids Are Alright.

Rattray cites Eye in the Sky, the drone thriller with Helen Mirren (The Queen) that became an art house hit, as an example of a business in transition. "I could have seen a studio making that 10 years ago," she says. "Now it has to be financed independently."

The Chinese movie business, though, has been a source of comfort within the industry's challenges. New theater construction and a burgeoning middle class have fueled explosive growth in the country, pushing ticket sales up nearly 50% last year. At some point in 2017, China is expected to pass the U.S. as the world's largest market for film.

That is a sign of the increasingly globalised nature of the business. But studios are ambivalent about China's rise. After all, Hollywood companies are getting only a small cut of the riches. Last year, China's ticket sales hit $6.8 billion, but that was driven largely by local productions. Even though foreign films – including those that Hollywood exports to China – racked up $2.6 billion, the Chinese government maintains such tight restrictions on outside content that studios received only 25% of receipts (half of what they get in the United States). That means their share of that record shattering year was just $650 million.

But there is hope. After a bruising start to summer, ticket sales have begun to rebound. The Secret Life Of Pets soared to a $104.4 million debut, and Suicide Squad and Jason Bourne could yet lift revenues, ending the popcorn season on a high note.

Their success will lift spirits, but the movie industry' issues are more systemic. It faces shifting tastes, increased competition, and a business model that seems to have been built for a different age. Breaking out of the rut will require bold, persistent experimentation, a willingness to change and ultimately fresh ideas.

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

First one sheet for A Monster Calls arrives online

Entertainment One have recently released their first one sheet for Juan Antonio Bayona (The Impossible) .

Juan Antonio Bayona is in the director's chair for this one, which recalls the stylish, fantastical and relatably scary work he did with The Orphanage (2007). Patrick Ness adapted his own acclaimed novel, which follows 12-year-old Conor (Lewis MacDougall), who is dealing with the pressures of his mother's (Felicity Jones) terminal illness and some problematic bullies at school. Worried that no one knows who he is – aside from the bullies – Conor retreats into a fantastical world full of beasts, heroes, warriors and more. His fairy tale life involves courage, loss and faith and helps him handle his troubled existence.

Liam Neeson (Taken) voices the titular monster, with Toby Kebbell (War Horse), Geraldine Chaplin (The Impossible) and Sigourney Weaver (Avatar) also among the cast.

A Monster Calls is set to arrive 21 October.

New character one sheets for Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children arrive online

20th Century Fox have recently released their latest trailer and one sheet for Tim Burton's (Dark Shadows) Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children.

Based on Ransom Riggs' novel and adapted by Jane Goldman (Stardust), the story follows 16 year-old Jacob (Asa Butterfield), who has grown up hearing tales of the titular orphanage's odd residents from his grandfather. They included a girl who always floated slightly above the ground, another who could safely hold fire in her hands and twins who had a psychic connection.

When his grandad suddenly dies, leaving behind a message for his grandson, Jacob makes the trip to the strange island off the coast of Wales. There he also finds the remains of Miss Peregrine's place and discovers that some of those who lived there might not have left. Not only does the orphanage still exist, sort of, but its strange inhabitants are under threat from dark forces.

With Eva Green (300: Rise Of An Empire), Allison Janney (Juno), Judi Dench (Skyfall), Samuel L. Jackson (Django Unchained), Chris O'Dowd (Bridesmaids), Terrence Stamp The Adjustment Bureau), Ella Purnell (Maleficent) and Rupert Everett (Stardust) in the cast, Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children arrives in UK cinemas 30 September.

New trailer for Dan Brown adaption Inferno arrives online

Sony Pictures have recently released their latest trailer for Ron Howards (The Da Vinci Code) Inferno.

Mining Dan Brown's work has done rather well for Ron Howard over the years, so it was somewhat inevitable that he would tackle another tome.

Inferno finds Tom Hanks' symbologist Robert Langdon in Italy, grappling with amnesia and a chilling puzzle revolving around Dante's Inferno. He will face a new and cunning adversary and an ingenious riddle that pulls him into a landscape of classic art, secret passageways, and futuristic science. And he will need the help of doctor Sienna Brooks (Felicity Jones), who aids him in recovering his memories even as they head out on his latest quest.

This time around the danger comes in the form of a deadly virus lying at the heart of a mystery. So it is up to Langdon to become, as someone says in the trailer, humanity's final hope.

With Omar Sy (X-Men: Days Of Future Past), Ben Foster (3:10 To Yuma), Sidse Babett Knudsen (Borgen) and Irrfan Khan (Life Of Pi) in the cast, Inferno is out in the UK on 14 October.

New Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them featurette arrives online

Warner Bros have recently released their latest featurette for Harry Potter veteran director David Yates' Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them, which steps into J.K. Rowling's wizarding realm for some new insights into magizoologist Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne).

Scripted by J.K. Rowling herself from her short tome, Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them is set 70 years before Harry, Hermione, Ron and the rest crossed the threshold of Hogwarts and tangle with the dark forces of Voldemort. Our hero here is magizoologist Newt Scamander (Redmayne), who is on a mission to document the creatures filling the wizarding world. During a trip to New York he discovers several of the beasts have escaped from his bottomless case.

And that isn't helped by the fact that America's Muggles, the No-Maj, aren't exactly trusting when it comes to witches and wizards, with the fires of suspicion stirred by dark forces, represented here by Colin Farrell's (Total Recall) investigator, Percival Graves.

Redmayne will be joined in the cast by the eclectic likes of Katherine Waterston (Inherent Vice) as Tina, Alison Sudol (What To Expect When You're Expecting) as Tina's sister Queenie, Dan Fogler (Fanboys) as Jacob, Ezra Miller (The Perks Of Being A Wallflower) as Credence, Samantha Morton (Control) as Mary Lou, Jenn Murray (Dorothy Mills) as Chastity, young newcomer Faith Wood-Blagrove as Modesty, plus Ron Perlman (Hellboy), Jon Voight (Mission: Impossible), Gemma Chan (Exam) and Carmen Ejogo (Selma).

Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them arrives in UK cinemas on 18 November.

New trailer and one sheet for Mechanic: Resurrection arrives online

Lionsgate have recently released their first trailer and one sheet for Dennis Gansel's (The Wave) The Mechanic (2011) sequel, Mechanic: Resurrection.

With German director Dennis Gansel taking over shot calling duties from Simon West, Mechanic: Resurrection finds the seemingly retired Arthur Bishop (Jason Statham) reluctantly forced back in the hitman world when nefarious forces kidnap the woman he loves (Jessica Alba).

We can expect plenty of Statham doing what he does best – offing people while making it look like an accident – and, in something of a twist, helping one of his targets (Tommy Lee Jones) fake his own assassination.

Mechanic: Resurrection will find its way to our screens on 26 August.

First trailer and one sheet for Ouija prequel Ouija: Origin Of Evil arrives online

Universal Pictures have recently released their first trailer and one sheet for Mike Flanagan's (Oculus) Ouija: Origin Of Evil.

Following the box office success of Ouija (2014), which conjured up $102.5 million off the back of a small budget, comes the sequel Ouija: Origin Of Evil, though the film is perhaps more accurately described as a prequel.

Mike Flanagan, who had success with Oculus (2013) and Before I Wake, takes over the directorial reins, co-writing the script with occasional collaborator Jeff Howard. Ouija: Origin Of Evil spins the clock back to 1965, to find Elizabeth Reaser (The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn) as a widowed mother running a scam seance business with her two daughters. But when they add a new ouija board to their bag of tricks, they unwittingly invite something very real and very evil into their lives, channelled through youngest daughter Doris (Lulu Wilson).

Soon, aided by a man of faith (Henry Thomas), they are locked in a battle to send the spirit back to the other side. With Doug Jones (Pan's Labyrinth) helping out on the scare front, Ouija: Origin Of Evil will be lurking in our cinemas from 21 October.

Michael Bay introduces new Autobot for Transformers: The Last Knight

Never one to resist introducing new characters he can merchandise, Michael Bay is bringing a brand new Transformer to his latest, Transformers: The Last Knight. Revealed via his Twitter page, the behind the scenes shot shows Bay with young star Isabela Moner (Splitting Adam) and new Autobot Squeeks.

Nothing is yet known about the new character, aside from the fact he looks like a cross between Tick Tock from Return To Oz (1985) and a rusty old Vespa. Squeeks will no doubt be taking over the cute mute role Bumblebee is used to holding.

So far, the only plot details about the film have been rumours, but we do know that Transformers veterans Mark Wahlberg's Cade Yeager and Josh Duhamel's William Lennox are set return alongside the robot regulars and returning villain Megatron. New arrivals this time include Moner, Anthony Hopkins (Hitchcock), Laura Haddock (Da Vinci's Demons) and Jerrod Carmichael (Neighbors).

Transformers: The Last Knight will be out here on 23 June next year. Take that as a promise or a threat.

Monday, 25 July 2016

Darth Vader confirmed for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

As is the way of things with new Star Wars movies, the rumours have flown thick and fast about Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, which is heading our way this December. Now, cutting through the unofficial chatter comes Entertainment Weekly, using their latest cover to report that Darth Vader will indeed be making an appearance in the new movie.

That locks down a long touted rumour that the iconic villain will indeed be part of the Imperial effort to keep the plans for the first Death Star out of rebel hands and that he will be acting as the Emperor's enforcer. Which will be a subject of concern and fear for Ben Mendelsohn's (Killing Them Softly) Director Krennic. Who will actually play Vader in the suit has yet to be announced, but you can bet James Earl Jones has been in the sound booth recording that memorable rumbling voice.

Gareth Edwards (Godzilla) has been shooting – and more recently reshooting – the film, which includes some impressive looking Imperial hardware, and we are promised more details of exactly what red Felicity Jones' Jyn Erso has in her ledger, which she is looking to get wiped out by helping the Rebellion.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story will be out on 16 December.