Sunday, 19 March 2017

New image of Henry Cavill in Sand Castle arrives online

For his next role, Henry Cavill (Man Of Steel) is swapping his Superman cape for some army camo. Sand Castle sees Cavill thick of beard and short of hair, starring as gruff military man Captain Syverson, opposite Nicholas Hoult's (Mad Max:Fury Road) cipher Matt Ocre, at the height of the Iraq war. A new image of Cavill in character has arrived online via Empire magazine.

Based on screenwriter Chris Roessner's own experiences of Iraq, Sand Castle will offer a frontline view of life and death on the ground when it is released on Netflix in the spring. "It's a war film," explains director Fernando Coimbra (A Wolf At The Door), "but it's more about Ocre's experiences, and the motivations of these guys. You read interviews with soldiers in these conflict zones and they don't even understand why they're really there."

Michelle Williams joins Jonah Hill's directorial debut

She recently earned her fourth Academy Award® nomination thanks to her blistering supporting turn in Manchester By The Sea (2016), and Michelle Williams is now looking towards a future job. News arrives via Deadline that she is in negotiations to join Jonah Hill's (The Wolf Of Wall Street) directorial debut, Mid-90s.

Hill wrote the coming-of-age tale and has won the chance to direct it for producer Scott Rudin (No Country For Old Men) and production company A24. As the title might suggest, the film sees a boy named Stevie learning life lessons in Los Angeles in the 1990s, spending time with his skateboarding friends and navigating the tricky waters of drinking, drugs, sex and peer pressure on the edge of his teenage years.

Assuming she closes a deal, Williams will play Stevie's mother, raising her son alone in the unforgiving city. Hill is scheduled to kick off shooting in June, but before that, Williams will star in a Janis Joplin biopic.

And in terms of her next on screen work, she will be seen in Todd Haynes' (I'm Not There) Wonderstruck and has been shooting The Greatest Showman opposite Hugh Jackman (The Wolverine), which is due for release on 5 January next year.

"You can't get so hung up on where you'd rather be, that you forget to make the most of where you are."

Passengers arrives with a cargo hold laden with expectation. Jon Spaihts' (Prometheus) script had been knocking around on the Black List of the best unproduced screenplays for the best part of a decade, and after flirting with different stars and directors over the years (Reese Witherspoon and Keanu Reeves were once attached as the leads), the film arrives with the names of arguably two of today's biggest stars above the title – Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt, whose eight figure salaries have been well documented.

So was the destination worth the journey? Well, like the corkscrewing spaceship at its centre, Passengers is slick, hi-tech and easy on the eye. But there is not a whole lot happening on board.

The story begins on the starship Avalon, 30 years into its 120 year voyage to Homestead II, a colony planet that the ship's 5,000 passengers will soon be calling home. But a piece of meteorite blasts through the ship's shield and causes a cascade of system failures leads, shorting out the suspended animation pod occupied by Jim Preston (Chris Pratt), a mechanic en route to a fresh start.

As the ship's artificial intelligence systems try to acclimatise him to his new living situation, he soon becomes distraught when he learns he is the only person awake, and he has got approximately 90 years to kill before he arrives at his destination.

Jim rattles around the empty luxury liner, exhausting the entertainment and dining options and growing an impressive beard, before he starts to become suicidally lonely.

It is at this point – through a plot contrivance that has been kept hidden from the trailers, which we won't spoil here – he acquires a fellow pod companion, writer Aurora Lane (Jennifer Lawrence), a sleeping beauty who is similarly freaked out when she wakes in her busted pod. The two hang out, shoot the breeze and make plans for survival. And, naturally, begin to fall in love. All the while, various parts of the ship are glitching out.

It is certainly an intriguing premise, and the not too distant future technology is brought to life via some sharp digital effects. As near futures go, it feels somewhat familiar – all screens are semi-transparent, virtual reality assistants are oppressively chirpy, synthetic food is served by vending machine – but it is impressively realised.

Throughout the first half, interesting ideas abound. What kind of person relocates to a place that takes generations to get to? Who exactly is getting rich from the colonisation of Homestead II? And most importantly, how long will it be until we can have android bar staff like the duteous Arthur (Michael Sheen)?

While many questions are posed, Passengers' mysteries don't always lead to satisfying reveals. Director Morten Tyldum (The Imitation Game) puts the romance up front, and while he is happy to liberally scatter cine-literate references throughout – can anyone see a revolving spaceship corridor and not think of 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) or hypersleep pods and Alien (1979)? – Passengers lacks the richness and complexities of the genre's strongest offerings. Appearing so soon on the heels of the superior Arrival (2016), and even the latest thought provoking series of Black Mirror, it feels somewhat slight.

Lawrence and Pratt are among the most charismatic performers working today, and their natural likeability lends a boost to what are woefully underwritten roles. Pratt, in particular, has his work cut out to ensure that Jim doesn't come across as creepy in light of some questionable behaviour.

The couple's chemistry may not quite have the crackle of the likes of Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling (La La Land), but they certainly make a pleasing pairing on screen – the idea of spending 90 years with either of them isn’t an objectionable one.

There is a humour and lightness to much of their interaction, even if the characters don't rank alongside either actor's most memorable – Jim lacks his usual roguish charm, and Lawrence's glassy turn isn't up there with her most engaging. Michael Sheen, meanwhile, lends terrific support, nailing his mannequin bartender's ersatz humanity. Part relationship counsellor, part conscience and occasionally a necessary plot device, Sheen's Arthur injects a welcome third perspective, breaking into the lovers' self-interest and laying bare their flaws – which are more than just passing.

With the actors doing enough to keep you invested, and a steady supply of visually impressive set-pieces maintaining the pace, Passengers offers plenty of in-flight entertainment for its two-hour running time, even if it can't match the tension of the similarly themed space survival saga, The Martian (2015).

Its main problem, in fact, is that while it is perfectly enjoyable in itself, it is always reminding you of slightly better films that it doesn't quite live up to. As science fiction, it feels like a professionally produced hybrid that lacks its own identity. As a romance, it never fully earns your investment. For those reasons, it seems destined to pass smoothly by without making much of a lasting impact.

Passengers never quite delivers on its concept, or the prospect of its stellar pairing.

Saturday, 18 March 2017

New batch of one sheets for John Wick: Chapter 2 arrive online

Warner Bros have recently released a fresh batch of striking one sheets for Chad Stahelski's John Wick (2014) sequel John Wick: Chapter 2.

Chapter 2 finds Keanu Reeves' Wick forced fully back out of retirement when a former associate plots to seize control of the shadowy international assassins' guild. Bound by a blood oath to help him, John travels to Rome, but soon learns there is a price on his head and must square off against some of the world's deadliest killers.

Ian McShane and Lance Reddick are back for this one, and the cast also includes Common (Now You See Me), Laurence Fishburne (Contagion), John Leguizamo (Moulin Rouge!) and Ruby Rose (Orange Is The New Black).

John Wick: Chapter 2 is out in cinemas now.

Andy Serkis and Martin Freeman confirmed for Black Panther

While both Andy Serkis and Martin Freeman have been rumoured as part of the film for a while now – and Freeman has been spotted on the set – Marvel's production announcement for Ryan Coogler's (Creed) Black Panther confirms that the two actors will indeed show up on screen.

Both actors are reprising characters we have met in the Marvel Cinematic Universe before – Serkis' injured arms dealer Ulysses Klaue from Avengers: Age Of Ultron (2015) and Freeman's government type Everett K. Ross in Captain America: Civil War (2016).

Black Panther follows T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman) who, after the events of Captain America: Civil War, returns home to the isolated, technologically advanced African nation of Wakanda to take his place as King. However, when an old enemy reappears on the radar, T'Challa's mettle as King and Black Panther is tested when he is drawn into a conflict that puts the entire fate of Wakanda and the world at risk.

Coogler's cast also includes regular collaborator Michael B. Jordan (CReed), Lupita Nyong'o (12 Years A Slave), Danai Gurira (The Walking Dead), Daniel Kaluuya (Kick-Ass 2), Angela Bassett (Malcolm X), Forest Whitaker (Lee Daniels' The Butler), Florence Kasuma (Captain America: Civil War) and Sterling K. Brown (The People V. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story). With a script by Coogler and Joe Robert Cole (Amber Lake), Black Panther is headed our way on 9 February next year before its US launch on 16 February.

The Flash movie to be rewritten by Joby Harold

In the DC comic books, The Flash is known for re-writing history. So perhaps it is fitting, if slightly worrying, that news arrives via The Hollywood Reporter that Warner Bros have decided to throw out the current script for the standalone film featuring Ezra Miller as Barry Allen, and handed the concept to Joby Harold (Awake).

Despite the speed of the character, the movie has been notably sluggish to come together. Seth Grahame-Smith (Pride And Prejudice And Zombies) was attached to direct first and wrote a draft, working from an earlier treatment from Phil Lord and Chris Miller (The Lego Movie). Then he was replaced by Rick Famuyiwa (Dope), who had his own take, one that apparently clashed with the executives' vision for the character.

Now the film is in need of a director, and with Ezra Miller busy elsewhere, the studio have decided that Harold might be able to get it on track ready for when he is available again. Kiersey Clemons (Dope) and Billy Crudup (The Watchmen) also remain attached, to play Iris West and Barry's father respectively.

As for Harold's other work, King Arthur: Legend Of The Sword is out on 12 May. And another take on Robin Hood, starring Taron Egerton (Kingsman: The Secret Service), is headed our way in 2018.

Naomie Harris joins Dwayne Johnson in Rampage

Fresh from scoring an Academy Award® nomination for her blistering, raw performance in Moonlight (2016), Naomie Harris has signed on for something that will find her more in the blockbuster territory of the James Bond movies. News arrives via The Hollywood Reporter that she is set to join Dwayne Johnson (San Andreas) in Rampage.

Those of a certain age will remember feeding coins into the arcade cabinet (and later playing at home) to control three giant monsters – George (a giant gorilla), Lizzie (a huge lizard) and Ralph (a raging werewolf), who were normal humans until they were the subject of experiments by the nefarious Scumlabs and turned into their monstrous forms.

How that will be turned into a movie outside of the basic concept remains to be seen, but Johnson is reportedly playing an animal rescuing hero who could be the world's only hope. Certainly sounds about standard for him. Harris, meanwhile, will be a geneticist with a moral streak, who we assume will have a change of heart and help in stopping the chaos.

San Andreas (2015) director Brad Peyton and producer Beau Flynn are back for this one, with Warner Bros and New Line Cinema planning a 20 April 2018 release.

Moonlight, which took home the Academy Award® for best film after an astonishing turn of events, is out in cinemas now. Harris also has a role in Andy Serkis' (Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes) Jungle Book (formerly Jungle Book: Origins), due for release next year.

Sing 2 in development

The movie has only recently arrived in the UK, but animated animal musical comedy Sing has already been a success elsewhere in the world for Illumination Entertainment. So it should come as no surprise that news arrives via Variety that the company are already planning a sequel.

Following on from sequels to the likes of the Despicable Me (2010), Secret Life Of Pets (2016) and Minions (2015) films, it marks the birth of another franchise for the team. Sing, directed by Garth Jennings, has already earned more than $429 million worldwide and the follow-up is now slated for Christmas Day 2020. No other details were announced, so we don't yet know whether Jennings might return for the new movie, or which of his celebrity stuffed cast will be back.

And the latest announcement also includes a shift for some of the fellow sequels, with The Secret Life Of Pets 2 moving back from 2018 to 2019, while Minions 2 is making a much smaller jump, to earlier in July 2020. Despicable Me 3, meanwhile, is out on June 30 this year.

Jacob Tremblay joins The Predator

Shane Black's (Iron Man 3) new Predator film continues to gather an impressive cast list, with news arriving via The Hollywood Reporter that Jacob Tremblay (Room) has recently joined the ensemble.

Black is spearheading the reboot of the Predator concept, having written the script with Fred Dekker (RoboCop 3). The movie's story is mostly under wraps, but will see several of the lethal creatures hunting humans including Boyd Holbrook (Narcos) and Trevante Rhodes' (Moonlight) military men, Olivia Munn's (Mortdecai) scientist and Keegan-Michael Key's (Let's Be Cops) character, who teams with the others to fight the alien hunters.

As for Tremblay, he will be playing Holbrook's son, an autistic lad who has been bullied in school, but has an incredible ability to learn languages, which will come in handy given the new threat. Cameras are currently rolling in Vancouver and the film is due to arrive in US cinemas on 9 February next year, before heading to our shores on 16 February.

Since impressing audiences and critics in Room (2015), Tremblay has won several roles, including Colin Trevorrow's (Jurassic World) upcoming The Book Of Henry and novel adaptation Wonder, which is out on 7 April.

M. Night Shyamalan and James McAvoy discuss Split and beyond

First things first: do not read on if you have yet to see M. Night Shyamalan's (The Sixth Sense) Split. Consider this the mother of all spoiler alerts.

For years, one of the questions M. Night Shyamalan has had to field on a regular basis is, 'when are you making an Unbreakable (2000) sequel?' And for years, the writer and director of the Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson starring thriller has demurred and deferred and said 'maybe one day'.

But here is an M. Night Shyamalan style twist. It turns out that he had been making an Unbreakable sequel right under our noses. At the end of Split, Shyamalan's latest movie, it is revealed, first through a sound cue from James Newton Howard's Unbreakable score and then a more explicit post-credits sting, that James McAvoy's (X-Men: First Class) villainous Kevin Wendell Crumb – the host of 24 warring personalities, some of whom are lethal – exists and operates in the same Philadelphia as David Dunn, Willis' security guard turned superhero from Unbreakable. Split is, essentially, Unbreakable 2. "However you want to look at it," says Shyamalan of the semantics surrounding the title. "Maybe it's a new format – this movie, this movie and a final movie."

The hint is clear: Shyamalan is setting Dunn on a collision course with Crumb – and possibly Jackson's Elijah Price, also known as Mr. Glass – for that final movie, a new entry in the Unbreakable series. "I'm writing the outline now," Shyamalan told Empire magazine. "It's weird. It's long. It's the longest outline I've ever had. It has so many characters... I hope if Split is a success, I'll have the opportunity to finish the story. I want to finish it, so this is the third one." Considering Split took over $40 million in it's opening weekend alone, we should expect this one to move from outline to script to actual film pretty quickly.

McAvoy, meanwhile, says that he didn't know about Split's connection to Unbreakable when he first read the script. "When I first read the script, it wasn't there," he says. "There was some weird little allusion to the fact that it might be linked to Unbreakable, but it was so subtle I kinda discounted it. Then on the last day of rehearsals I was like, 'mate, is this thing linked to that thing?' It was honestly the most subtle thing you could ever have written. None but the greatest fanboy alive would ever have noticed it. So it went from being a tiny music cue to a whole fullblown scene with a major movie star in it."

That major movie star is, of course, Willis, and McAvoy admits that he is looking forward to facing off against him. "When two baldies go to war," he laughs. "My money's on B-Dog. I hope he lets me call him that."

Split, meanwhile, is out in cinemas now.

Daisy Ridley set to star in A Woman Of No Importance

Having had her star boosted into the stratosphere by Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015), Daisy Ridley has become a popular name to attach to other projects. Paramount Pictures already have her allied with one film, fantasy thriller Kolma, and now news arrives via Deadline that they have acquired the rights to true life tale A Woman Of No Importance as another potential star vehicle.

Sonia Purnell's tome is the biography of American heiress turned spy Virginia Hall, who was initially frustrated in her attempts to join the American Foreign Service in the years before World War II because of a serious leg injury obtained during a hunting accident. Undaunted, she worked during the war for Britain's Special Operations Executive intelligence unit. Later, she joined the American Office of Strategic Services and the Special Activities Division of the CIA. The Gestapo reportedly considered her the most dangerous of all Allied spies and she won the Distinguished Service Cross and an honorary MBE.

The planned film will now go through the development process – there is no director or writer attached yet – though it is not like Ridley doesn't have plenty to do in the meantime, even with her continuing association with the Star Wars universe. She will be back as Rey in what we now know is called Star Wars: The Last Jedi this December, has been at work on Kenneth Branagh's (Cinderella) Murder On The Orient Express and is lending her voice to the new Peter Rabbit. In terms of potential projects, there is Patrick Ness adaptation Chaos Walking and indie Hamlet take Ophelia, among others.

Michael Dougherty set to direct Godzilla 2

Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros cranked the Godzilla (2014) sequel up a notch last year with the hiring of Michael Dougherty and Zach Shields (Krampus) to write the script. Now news arrives via Variety that Dougherty is set to take the director's chair for the giant beast's follow-up.

According to Variety, the original deal was just for Dougherty to co-write, but after months of work in charge of the writers room that is looking to develop both new Godzilla films and extend the King Kong story to the point where the massive beasts meet, he has convinced them that he is the man to oversee the next Godzilla outing.

Having worked with Legendary since the days of Trick 'r Treat (2007), Dougherty made Krampus with Shields as co-writer at the company and has now stuck around for this one, which is aiming for a 22 March 2019 release, with Godzilla Vs. Kong scheduled for 22 May 2020. As for Kong himself, Kong: Skull Island is out in cinemas now. Watch this space for a review on that one arriving soon.

Thomas Jane set for The Predator

With cameras currently rolling in Vancouver, the cast for Shane Black's (Iron Man 3) new Predator film continues to assemble apace, with news arriving via The Hollywood Reporter that Thomas Jane (The Mist) is now set to join.

Black is spearheading the reboot of the Predator concept, having written the script with Fred Dekker (RoboCop 3). The movie's story is mostly under wraps, but will see several of the lethal creatures hunting humans including Boyd Holbrook (Narcos) and Trevante Rhodes' (Moonlight) military men, Olivia Munn's (Mortdecai) scientist and Keegan-Michael Key's (Let's Be Cops) character, who teams with the others to fight the alien hunters. While we don't yet know who Jane will be playing, we can certainly see him ready to rumble with one of the extra-terrestrial menaces.

Jane has largely been seen in independent movies for the last few years, and recently worked on crime drama 1922. And on the small screen, he appeared in science fiction drama The Expanse. The Predator, meanwhile, will arrive in US cinemas on 9 February next year, before heading to our shores on 16 February.

Guillermo Del Toro adds Patrick McHale as Pinocchio co-writer

While we were worried that his planned Pinocchio movie would vanish into the void of projects that never quite come together for Guillermo del Toro (Pacific Rim), it is always best to trust in his ability to one day get them made. And now news arrives via Collider that he is adding Patrick McHale (Over The Garden Wall) as a co-writer on a new draft of the script.

Del Toro has certainly been vocal about working in the animation field, and has been acting as producer on several projects for DreamWorks Animation. Talking to Collider about one of them – Trollhunters – he pressed the idea that he still wants to direct in the animated motion picture field. "There are a lot of things that are still percolating, but as far as I'm concerned, I am still planning to do my first animated feature as a director. It's been an apprenticeship with DreamWorks the last seven years with Jeffrey Katzenberg. I was as close to him as I could and I was on the production of Puss In Boots (2011), Kung Fu Panda 3 (2016) and so forth because I'm preparing to, more and more, direct animation.

"I'm preparing, also, my first stop-motion animation feature with Pinocchio, which I've been trying to get off the ground for a while, but I haven't been able yet. But the last news on Pinocchio, which was very, very useful for me, was that I was looking for a co-writer who could be a great partner for me on this, and I'm happy to say that Patrick McHale from Over the Garden Wall (2013) is going to co-write the new draft of the screenplay with me."

So while it has been a few years for this one – it has been bubbling away since at least 2008 – the fact that Guillermo del Toro is still keeping the flame alight gives us hope it will show up one day. And as he says, McHale certainly has a lot of experience with animation as both writer and director.

As for actual del Toro movies on the way, we have The Shape Of Water headed to our screens at some point this year, while Trollhunters' first season is now on Netflix.

Daniella Pineda joins Jurassic World sequel

With Juan Antonio Bayona (The Impossible) deep into preparing to make the sequel to the monster hit Jurassic World (2015), he has been steadily adding new cast members to support returning leads Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard. Now news arrives via Variety that he is recruiting Daniella Pineda (The Originals) for what is described as a major role in the movie.

Exactly what that means at this point is unclear, as both the plot and any character details are secreted behind giant walls to avoid them escaping and causing chaos. We can expect the usual dinosaur carnage given a fresh twist by writer and producers Colin Trevorrow and Derek Connolly (Jurassic World), with Rafe Spall (Prometheus), Toby Jones (Captain America: The First Avenger) and Justice Smith (Paper Towns) all also in the human line-up.

Pineda's career has been weighted more towards TV until recently, and she is one of the stars of US sitcom The Detour. But she has also been seen in movies such as The Fitzgerald Family Christmas (2012) and Sleeping With Other People (2015).

Jurassic World's sequel promises to be something on quite another level for the actress and the movie will arrive on 22 June next year.

First look at Benedict Cumberbatch in The Current War arrives online

With cameras now rolling and sparks flying on the set of Alfonso Gomez-Rejon's (Me And Earl And The Dying Girl) period legal drama The Current War, The Weinstein Company have recently released their first image of Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game) as Thomas Edison.

Written by Michael Mitnick (The Giver), the film will follow the real life public clash between Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse (Michael Shannon) as to who was going to decide the future of the electricity industry in the 1880s. Edison favoured direct current, while Westinghouse and several other companies preferred to push alternating current. Caught between them was inventor Nikola Tesla (Nicholas Hoult).

The progress on The Current War means that this project is set to beat competing chronicle of the events The Last Days Of Night out into cinemas. That one has Eddie Redmayne (The Theory Of Everything) aboard as lawyer Paul Cravath and a script by Graham Moore (The Imitation Game), but is still a way from starting.

"Edison and Westinghouse's rivalry is the ultimate tale of competition driving ingenuity," says Weinstein Company co-chairman Harvey Weinstein. "Theirs was a battle of intellect, a race of creativity and technological innovation that we see echoed in the self-made inventors dominating spaces like Silicon Valley."

Alongside Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Shannon and Nicholas Hoult are Katherine Waterston (Inherent Vice) as Marguerite Westinghouse and Tom Holland (The Impossible) as Samuel Insull, Edison's right hand man. There is no release date set for the film yet.

Every Which Way But Loose remake in development

If you are a fan of the Clint Eastwood film, the idea of an Every Which Way But Loose (1978) remake is sure to have you going ape. But you had better be ready, with news arriving via Deadline that Loose's director James Fargo is spearheading a new version, with writer and director Anthony G. Cohen (The Sex Trip) calling the shots.

While it was critically vilified, Every Which Way But Loose became a big hit, earning $85 million following its release in 1978, and spawning follow-up Any Which Way You Can (1980). The story of Philo Beddoe (Clint Eastwood), a trucker and brawler roaming the American West in search of a lost love while accompanied by his friend and manager Orville (Geoffrey Lewis), and his pet orangutan, Clyde (played by Manis) is still loved to this day. Fargo, apparently thinks Cohen is the man to remake it. "I have been interviewing directors for over a year and as soon as I watched Cohen's film The Sex Trip (2016)... I knew instantly he was the right director for this picture," Fargo told Deadline. "I was very impressed with his film and his directing style."

The cameras are set to start rolling later this year. Can they convince Eastwood to cameo? Chances are doubtful, but perhaps Fargo still has some sway...

Friday, 17 March 2017

Woody Harrelson set to play Han Solo's mentor

News arrives via Variety that Woody Harrelson (The Hunger Games) is set to take on the role of Han Solo's mentor in Phil Lord and Chris Miller's (The Lego movie) upcoming anthology movie. In the expanded universe, Solo as a young orphan was taken in by the cruel Garris Shrike, who uses children to steal for him. Of course, the expanded universe is no longer considered canon, so it remains to be seen quite how much this translates to a character in the movie.

Variety reports that the actor's lackadaisical Texan drawls will soon be heard in a galaxy far, far away. Harrelson is one of the last major characters to be cast in the still untitled project, which has Alden Ehrenreich (Hail, Caesar!) in the role originally made famous by Harrison Ford, alongside Donald Glover (Community) as Lando Calrissian and Emilia Clarke (Game Of Thrones) in an unnamed role.

Shooting is currently underway with the film due to be released in May 2018 – although, if rumours are to be believed, odds are it will be pushed back to December of that year. We all know how Han felt about odds, though.

Tim Story set to direct the latest Shaft reboot

He is best known for the earlier, wackier two Fantastic Four films and the two Ride Along movies, but Tim Story is the man now entrusted with the latest attempt to reboot the Shaft concept.

News arrive via Deadline that New Line Cinema have hired Story to direct the new take on the idea, following the 1971 version and its sequels (with Richard Roundtree as the title character) and the last remake featuring Samuel L. Jackson as Shaft's nephew in 2000. According to Deadline, the studio is looking to keep most of the plot details a secret, but the site has heard that it will focus on the son of John Shaft, who has also taken up the mantle of private eye who exists on the shadowy border between law and order, and investigates organised crime in New York City.

Sitcom creator Kenya Barris (Black-ish) wrote the current draft of the script with Alex Barnow (The Goldbergs), and Story joining the film means it will now move to the casting stage. Could this be the time we see Kevin Hart playing Shaft? Unlikely, but anything can happen at this point.

James Cameron set to oversee new Terminator film

Since James Cameron's groundbreaking two Terminator movies, the series has never quite reached the same heights. And particularly not with Terminator Genisys (2015). But now, with the 2019 date of the rights reverting to Cameron's control fast approaching, it makes sense that the people looking to make another movie would want him to come on board as overseer, and news arrives via Deadline that he is apparently now in talks with Tim Miller (Deadpool) to make the resulting film.

While you naturally have to worry about yet another attempt to tap this particular well, the presence of Cameron who, despite his current focus on the Avatar sequels has been consulting with other filmmakers through projects – including Robert Rodriguez (Sin City) on Alita: Battle Angel – would surely be a reason for a little bit more hope. Even if he did initially support Terminator Genisys. It is never wise to bet against Cameron, who has proved time and again that he knows how to make successful movies, and with him actually having direct input in a new film set in the universe of two of his greatest triumphs could – and we stress the could – result in something fresh and new. Miller is also no slouch in the creativity department.

And according to Deadline, the current plan, backed by Terminator Genisys financier David Ellison is to have respected science fiction authors spitball new ideas for the film.

Of course, it may all come to nothing if the various parties don't agree. And there is no guarantee that even with Cameron on board, a new Terminator film could add something truly worthwhile to what has come before...

Ewan McGregor takes over the lead for Drake Doremus' Zoe

Drake Doremus (Like Crazy) is getting ready to make his next film the scientific romantic drama Zoe, but he has had to make a change to the leading cast line-up due to scheduling difficulties. With  Charlie Hunnam (Pacific Rim) dropping out, news now arrives via Deadline that Ewan McGregor (The Impossible) is set to replace him.

Léa Seydoux (SPECTRE) remains attached to the film, which we now know will follow two colleagues at a lab who are working on some revolutionary research intended to improve and perfect romantic relationships. And while you might wonder how science could play a role, the effects apparently have a profound effect on the scientists. Doremus is preparing to shoot the movie in April in Montreal, with a script in hand from Rich Greenburg (One Fall).

Zoe is not even Doremus' next film to see the inside of cinemas, as he snuck in a quick shoot on Newness that stars Nicholas Hoult (Mad Max:Fury Road) and Laia Costa (Victoria) and recently premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.

As for McGregor, he is currently on our screens in one of his most iconic roles as Renton in T2 Trainspotting, and can be heard as Lumiere in the new live action Beauty And The Beast, which is out in cinemas now.

Sterling K Brown set for The Predator

Sterling K. Brown (American Crime Story) is most certainly having a big moment in his career. Not content with an Emmy Award winning performance on one TV miniseries, a successful main network show and joining the cast of Marvel's Black Panther, news now arrives via The Hollywood Reporter his is also in talks to face an alien threat in The Predator.

Shane Black (Iron Man 3) is spearheading the reboot of the Predator concept, having written the script with Fred Dekker (RoboCop 3). The movie's story is mostly under wraps, but will see several of the lethal creatures hunting humans including Boyd Holbrook (Narcos) and Trevante Rhodes' (Moonlight) military men, Olivia Munn's (Mortdecai) scientist and Keegan-Michael Key's (Let's Be Cops) character, who teams with the others to fight the alien hunters.

Brown, assuming his deal goes through, is being slotted in as a government agent who jails Holbrook's character, but is forced to let him out and work together when the extra-terrestrial menace hits. Black should have the cameras rolling soon.

Brown is playing a new character for Black Panther, which is due to hit UK screens on 9 February 2018. The Predator is planning to follow that on 16 February the same year. And the good news keeps coming for the actor, as his hit series This Is Us has just been renewed for two seasons.

Dwayne Johnson's Black Adam lands his own DC movie

There is an inherent danger for announcing sequel or spin-off plans before the first film is even out there (or has been made). But when you have Dwayne Johnson (San Andreas) playing a character, we can forgive Warner Bros and DC Entertainment for tempting fate and risking being seen in more disarray by putting the cart before the horse. And so it is as news arrives via Deadline that the studio are now splitting its planned Shazam! movie into two, with one focusing on Johnson's anti-hero character Black Adam.

Shazam focuses on Billy Batson, who can become the hero known as Captain Marvel (not the Marvel incarnation set to played by Brie Larson) by saying the word, 'Shazam!' which grants him the powers of six mythological gods.

Johnson's character has long been the nemesis for the hero, but in recent comics, he has been on a path to change his nature and make amends for his past. And that would seem to be the angle here, with Johnson looking to find the fun in the DC universe.

So DC Entertainment's team, including boss Geoff Johns apparently decided that rather than consigning Black Adam to mere villain character status, they would let him breathe in a film of his own. Which is arguably understandable when you consider Johnson has been attached to play the role since 2008 and was officially confirmed back in 2014.

When either of the movies might hit is currently anyone's guess, especially given Johnson's busy schedule. But it certainly sounds like he is looking to power another potential franchise...

Stephen Gaghan set to direct game adaptation The Division

Bringing in someone known for their arthouse fare (Justin Kurzel) for its last stab at a game adaptation (Assassin's Creed) didn't necessarily pay huge dividends for Ubisoft, but the game giants are set to try again, with news arriving via Variety hiring Stephen Gaghan (Syriana) for The Division, which has Jake Gyllenhaal (Nightcrawler) and Jessica Chastain (The Martian) in the main roles.

Gaghan taking the gig also comes as a surprise, but he appears to be enthusiastic about tackling something very different from the likes of his most recent job Gold. "I'm excited to work with Ubisoft Motion Pictures and collaborate with their team at Massive Entertainment to bring The Division to the big screen. They're great guys, exceptionally creative, and willing to take risks," Gaghan says in a statement carried by Variety. "The game has been an enormous success, in large part due to the visual landscape they created, their vision of a mid-apocalyptic Manhattan. It's immersive, wonderfully strange, and yet familiar, filled with possibilities. It's also remarkable to be able to collaborate with Jessica Chastain and Jake Gyllenhaal early in the process. We all feel the story Ubisoft created is more relevant than ever."

The film will adapt the popular shooter title, set in a dangerous New York in the wake of a massive smallpox epidemic. In the various missions, you must work as part of the Strategic Homeland Division to rebuild its operations in the Big Apple, track down the cause of the outbreak and fight crime that pops up in the city. Gaghan and his cast will aim for a 2018 release date and Ubisoft will be hoping for some better reviews, even if Assassin's Creed managed to do some business at the box office.

Gold, meanwhile, is out in cinemas now.

Anne Hathaway joins Rebel Wilson in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels remake

It was announced last August that Rebel Wilson (Pitch Perfect) was lined up to star in a remake of the con-man caper comedy Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988). Now news arrives via Deadline that the new film will be called Nasty Women and has Anne Hathaway (Les Misérables) in talks to co-star.

The film – it's title nod to a certain new U.S. President back when he was still on the campaign trail – will switch the genders of the criminal duo and slightly updates the story, with Hathaway and Wilson playing two scam artists, who compete to separate a naive technology prodigy from his billions.

While Frank Oz directed the 1988 version, the new film is still looking for someone to call the shots, but has Jac Schaffer (Timer) writing the script, working again with Hathaway after crafting the screenplay for science fiction comedy The Shower, which is still in development with a lead role for the actress.

It may not escape the critical (and especially online) opprobrium, but at least it appears to be doing something a little different with the idea. And let's not forget that Dirty Rotten Scoundrels itself is a remake of Bedtime Story (1964).

Thursday, 16 March 2017

"With the world so set on tearing itself apart, it don't seem like such a bad thing to me to want to put a little bit of it back together."

In May 1945, in the hellfire battle of Okinawa, army medic and devout Seventh-day Adventist Desmond T. Doss battled to save the life of 75 men without firing a single bullet. And while he does actually take up arms in the heat of battle, he instead uses a rifle and blanket to improvise a sleigh to pull a stricken soldier to safety as the injured comrade opens fire on the advancing enemy. It is a rare moment of action movie fun in Mel Gibson's (Braveheart) film as we are plunged terrifyingly into the Pacific war.

At the heart of this cinematic cyclone is a more conventional character study of Andrew Garfield's (The Amazing Spider-Man) pacifist hero Doss. Torn by his need to serve in the fight against Japan and a strict moral code that prevents him from taking life, he signs up as a medic, hoping to do his duty by saving lives instead of taking them.

Using a Full Metal Jacket (1987) style structure, the film follows first Doss' basic training, then his time in combat. He meets and falls for local nurse Dorothy (Teresa Palmer) in a romantic subplot that is just the right side of saccharine, before heading to boot camp where he endures beatings, bullying and abuse from officers and men alike, with Vince Vaughn stealing scenes as an aggressive, motormouth drill instructor. The men, following his lead, soon make Doss' life a daily hell. The medic in training, though, won't crack.

As Doss is court-martialled for his conscientious objections, the judgement sets up act three's inferno – "You are free to run into the hellfire of battle without a single weapon to defend yourself," he is warned.

The combat sequences, set on a blasted, blood soaked Okinawan ridge and recreated in micro detail in Australia, are filmed as an expression of pure violence. Between the mud, splayed bodies, bullet pierced tin hats and torsos used as shields, the Battle of Okinawa pulverises. War has been hell in movies before – this is worse. Like the opening salvos of Saving Private Ryan (1998), only at altitude, the thick fug of smoke, cordite and blood leaves you gasping for air. In this maelstrom, Doss' acts of raw courage provide a much needed focal point. As the battle for command of the island swings one way and then the other, he saves first one, then another and finally dozens. The complexities of his moral stance fall away, replaced by the simple maths of saving lives. "Please, Lord, help me get one more," he begs, dodging death to drag the wounded from battle, dress injuries and winch them down a 400ft cliff with a makeshift pulley, staggering like a man drunk on righteous determination.

It is a moving recreation of a khaki clad superhero at work, an old fashioned story that Gibson mainlines with bleeding edge craft and technique – he has lost little of his skill for spectacle. But as with some of his previous work, the hero is occasionally depicted as an almost Christ-like figure, leaving it to Garfield's humble hero to keep the man grounded and relatable.

Biblical themes resonate too as a young Doss whacks his brother with a rock – his bullying dad (Hugo Weaving) whips him with a belt for his crime. Years on, Doss uses his own belt to help an injured man, his journey to redemption symbolically begun.

The former Spider-Man deftly imbues the open-hearted Doss with steel and dignity (and nailing the accent), is the warm anchor the film needs. Between this and Silence, two contrasting tales of faith in an unforgiving world, any memories of the sad end to his webslinging days should be well and truly banished.

A godsend as Gibson's peaceable pilgrim, Garfield imbues Doss' gangly mannerisms and corn-fed dialogue with a winning mix of simple sweetness and self certainty.

Occasionally clichéd on the homefront but cataclysmic in combat, this is certainly a worthy addition to the WWII canon. Gibson returns to film's frontline with a ferociously felt anti-war movie, while Garfield underpins it all with skill, showing that sometimes, war can be humanising too.

New one sheet for John Wick: Chapter 2 arrives online

Warner Bros have recently released their latest one sheet for Chad Stahelski's John Wick (2014) sequel John Wick: Chapter 2.

Chapter 2 finds Keanu Reeves' Wick forced fully back out of retirement when a former associate plots to seize control of the shadowy international assassins' guild. Bound by a blood oath to help him, John travels to Rome, but soon learns there is a price on his head and must square off against some of the world's deadliest killers.

Ian McShane and Lance Reddick are back for this one, and the cast also includes Common (Now You See Me), Laurence Fishburne (Contagion), John Leguizamo (Moulin Rouge!) and Ruby Rose (Orange Is The New Black).

John Wick: Chapter 2 is out in cinemas now.

New one sheet for Logan arrives online

20th Century Fox have recently released their latest one sheet for James Mangold's (The Wolverine) latest Wolverine solo outing, which is now officially called Logan.

Hugh Jackman is set to appear for the very last time as arguably the most iconic member of the X-Men for the third Wolverine solo movie, and so we are expecting big things from his swan song in the role. The new movie, written by David James Kelly, is being kept mostly quiet, though most reports have pegged a futuristic Old Man Logan inspiration.

Patrick Stewart returns as the older Professor Xavier, while Boyd Holbrook (Gone Girl), is the main villain, Richard E. Grant (Dom Hemingway) plays a mad scientist and Stephen Merchant (I Give It A Year), Eriq La Salle (ER), Elise Neal (Hustle & Flow) and Elizabeth Rodriguez (Fear The Walking Dead) are also on board.

Logan is out in cinemas now.

New one sheet for Ghost In The Shell arrives online

Paramount Pictures have recently released a stunning new one sheet for Rupert Sanders' (Snow White And The Huntsman) Ghost In The Shell.

Adapted from Masamune Shirow's original 1989 manga, Ghost In The Shell sees Scarlett Johansson (Lucy) as a special ops cyborg at the head of an elite task force known as Section 9. The team, working for Hanka Robotics, is in charge of stopping dangerous criminals and extremists, and their prime target is Kuze (Michael Pitt), a terrorist dedicated to wiping out all of Hanka's cyber technology.

Johansson's Lucy (2014) co-star Pilou Asbæk is aboard to play Batou, the second best fighter in the section and her trusted lieutenant, with Juliette Binoche (Cosmopolis), 'Beat' Takeshi Kitano (The Blind Swordsman: Zatoichi), Michael Pitt (Seven Psychopaths) and Kaori Momoi (Memoirs Of A Geisha) also appearing. The members of Section 9 are played by Chin Han (The Dark knight), Danusia Samal (Tyrant), Lasarus Ratuere (The Mule), Yutaka Izumihara (Unbroken) and Tuwanda Manyimo (The Rover).

With a script by Jonathan Herman (Straight Outta Compton), Ghost In The Shell will arrive in  cinemas on 31 March. For more on Ghost In The Shell, check out our Ghost In The Shell crash course guide.

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Kong to Kong: The screen history of cinema's greatest monster

Back in 1933, 20 years before Godzilla laid claim to the kaiju crown, there was Kong. The brainchild of producer and director team Merian C Cooper and Ernest B Shoedsack, brought to life for RKO Studios by legendary special effects wizard Willis O'Brien, King Kong's ill-fated rampage through the streets of New York City was an landmark moment in Hollywood cinema that went on to spawn countless imitators.

With Kong: Skull Island arriving in cinemas, we take a look through the sizable simian's back catalogue – from the numerous official sequels to the most brazen knock-offs. Here, then, is a comprehensive rundown of the good, the bad, but mostly the ugly cinematic indignities that men in monkey suits have ever suffered in the name of Kong...

King Kong (1933)

Anyone who avoids this film because it is in black and white or because the effects have become somewhat dated, should be forced to sit down and watch it from beginning to end. And then they should be forced to watch the making of documentary released on DVD a couple of years ago so they can see how this film was accomplished without the use of computers courtesy of effects wizard Willis O'Brien.

Created by Merian C. Cooper, who also directs and produces, King Kong tells the story of film director and overall showman Carl Denham (Robert Armstrong) who gets a ship to bring him and his film crew to Skull Island to shoot exotic animals, unaware that those animals are made up of prehistoric creatures and a giant ape. Thrown into the mix is a penniless woman, Ann Darrow (Fay Wray), who Denham believes can be a star. What develops unexpectedly is a romantic triangle between Darrow, shipmate Jack Driscoll (Bruce Cabot) and Kong.

There is some great stuff on the island – particularly Kong's battle with a T-Rex – but things really kick into high gear when Denham has Kong transported back to New York to be revealed as the Eighth Wonder Of The World. Things quickly escalate, culminating with Kong, Darrow in hand, scaling New York's Empire State Building and battling bi-planes with machine guns. In the end, Denham claims it was beauty killed the beast, but we are pretty sure it was the planes. Not to mention falling 102 stories to the sidewalks of 5th Avenue.

Son Of Kong (1933)

Most impressive about this sequel is not the film itself (unfortunately), but the fact that it reached theatres a mere nine months after the release of the original. Quite how they pulled that off is anyone's guess.

Carl Denham (the returning Robert Armstrong) is being sued by pretty much everyone in New York in the aftermath of the Kong fiasco. His solution? To drag the original's ship captain back to Skull Island in pursuit of a treasure that is supposedly there. What they and Hilda Peterson (Helen Mack) find are more dinosaurs and Kong's offspring, a big white gorilla. Considering how frightening the first film was to 1933 audiences, the decision was made to go lighter in tone, substituting humour where possible for horror.

Spoiler alert: The end of the film sees Kong Jr. sacrifice himself to save the humans. Bet that ending would have been different if he knew that Denham was responsible for his father's death.

King Kong Vs Godzilla (1962)

Here is an idiot ahead of his time – the head of Pacific Pharmaceuticals wants to advertise his products on better TV shows, so he comes up with the brilliant idea of having a couple of hapless fools retrieve a giant monster in the hope of creating more entertaining programs. Inadvertently freeing Godzilla from an iceberg, they also encounter a giant octopus by Faro Island, but are saved by King Kong (Shoichi Hirose in a terrible costume), who then decides to drink red berry juice and conveniently falls asleep. They start transporting him to Japan via huge raft, unaware that Godzilla is attacking the country (again). Kong awakens, gets off the raft and goes to battle Godzilla.

They fight, Godzilla looks like he is winning, but Kong gets recharged by grabbing power lines (don't ask), and ends up victorious, swimming back to Faro Island.

Plans are currently underway at Warner Bros for a remake in 2020.

The King Kong Show (1966)

A Saturday morning cartoon that almost defies explanation (but we'll give it a shot). On Mondo Island, young Bobby Bond is rescued by Kong from a T-Rex attack. From that point onward (for twenty-four episodes), Bobby, his family and Kong get involved in a variety of adventures going up against mad scientists, dinosaurs and even a robot Kong doppelgänger.

The show does have the distinction, however, of being the first anime series an American company commissioned from Japan.

King Kong Escapes (1967)

Incredible as it may seem, the animated The King Kong Show was successful enough that it inspired a live-action Japanese adaptation. As things unfold, Dr. Who (not that one) creates a mechanical version of Kong and ends up going into battle against the real Kong, the climax taking place on Tokyo Tower rather than the Empire State Building. This time out it is Haruo Nakajima in yet another appalling Kong costume.

King Kong (1976)

This production by Dino De Laurentiis garnered a lot of publicity at the time, but it ultimately something of a campy affair – not that surprising when you consider the screenplay was by Lorenzo Semple, Jr., one of the primary writers from the Adam West Batman TV series. Modernised, this time the ship that goes to Skull Island is the property of an oil magnate (Charles Grodin) seeking out new petroleum deposits. Counter culture paleontologist Jack Prescott (Jeff Bridges), who has stowed away on the ship, warns them of the creatures they will face at their destination. En route they come across an actress who has survived a shipwreck, Dawn (Jessica Lange in her film debut).

Things kind of unfold in traditional fashion – arrival on the island, introduction of Kong (Rick Baker in an effective suit), rescuing of Dawn – with events climaxing in New York, only instead of the Empire State Building, Kong climbs the Twin Towers (retrospectively poignant), and is shot down by machine gun fire from helicopters.

A particular low point (yet somehow summing up the film) sees Dawn calls Kong a male chauvinist ape.

King Kong Lives (1986)

Somehow Kong survived the fall from the Twin Towers, and even more improbably the decision is made to try and save him. Nearly a decade passes with him in a coma induced by Dr. Amy Franklin (Linda Hamilton) due to heart issues. Eventually he is given an artificial heart, but he is in need of a blood transfusion. Coming to the rescue is adventurer Hank 'Mitch' Mitchell (Brian Kerwin), who ventures into Borneo and captures a female giant ape given the name Lady Kong. The blood transfusion works, and the two apes make a break for freedom. Enter army colonel Archie Nevitt (John Ashton), who leads the hunt to destroy them (which begs the question of why Kong was saved in the first place). Things don't improve from there.

Kong: The Animated Series (2000)

You have got to give these people credit for coming up with unique twists on King Kong (unique doesn't necessarily translate to effective). This forty-episode animated show has a scientist create a clone of Kong, the ape's DNA supplemented by that of her grandson, Jason. He utilises a cyber-link to essentially mind merge with Kong so that they can fight the forces of evil. The show spawned a pair of animated DVD films, Kong: King Of Atlantis (2005) and Kong: Return To The Jungle (2007).

King Kong (2005)

Of all of the follow-ups to the original, Peter Jackson's film is arguably the most worthy, and in many ways extremely underrated. The major plot points remain the same, but with Weta Digital providing the astonishing visual effects, strong performances by Jack Black as Carl Denham, Naomi Watts as Ann Darrow, Adrien Brody as Jack Driscoll – this time the screenwriter of Denham's film who falls in love with Darrow – and Andy Serkis providing the performance capture as Kong, creating a genuinely fierce yet vulnerable take on the character.

In fact, beyond the spectacle and effectively capturing the feel of 1930s' New York towards the end, what soars about this film is the connection created between Darrow and Kong, particularly the way they communicate through sign language. There is even a moment when the two of them are on the Empire State Building, the sun rising as Kong signs the word 'beautiful', to which a tearful Darrow agrees. It makes the assault on him mere moments later that much more heartbreaking.

Kong: King Of The Apes (2016)

Yet more animation, this time on Netflix, kicking off with a two-hour movie and twelve half-hour episodes. The premise, set in 2050, has Kong accused of attacking a preserve on Alcatraz Island, but it turns out that he was framed. The culprit is an evil scientist who has created an army of robot dinosaurs, and humanity's only hope is, of course, King Kong, who teams up with three kids to fight the scientist and his minions. Produced by former Marvel honcho Avi Arad.

Kong: Skull Island (2017)

Directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts (Kings Of Summer), the latest Kong adventure takes place in 1973 and finds a group of explorers – including Tom Hiddleston (Thor: The Dark World), Brie Larson (The Spectacular Now), Corey Hawkins, Jason Mitchell (Straight Outta Compton), Samuel L. Jackson (Django Unchained), John Goodman (Argo) and John C. Reilly (Savages) – heading to the mysterious, misty island and encountering the titular giant ape.

With a script that has seen work by Max Borenstein (Godzilla), John Gatins (Real Steel), Dan Gilroy (Nightcrawler) and Derek Connolly (Jurassic World), the film itself is set for a 10 March release in the UK and US. Originally set up by Legendary Pictures at current partner Universal Pictures, the movie recently shifted back to the production company's old home Warner Bros, with Legendary hoping to spark a franchise that will eventually see Kong square off against Godzilla.

Thursday, 9 March 2017

New Ghost In The Shell teaser arrives online

In a pleasingly cyberpunk style, Paramount Pictures' publicity machine have largely eschewed the traditional trailer route for Rupert Sanders' (Snow White And The Huntsman) live action Ghost In The Shell remake with a series of 'glitch' teasers. The latest of which points to how Scarlett Johansson's (Lucy) character is being treated by her paymasters.

Adapted from Masamune Shirow's original 1989 manga, Ghost In The Shell sees Scarlett Johansson (Lucy) as a special ops cyborg at the head of an elite task force known as Section 9. The team, working for Hanka Robotics, is in charge of stopping dangerous criminals and extremists, and their prime target is The Laughing Man, a terrorist dedicated to wiping out all of Hanka's cyber technology.

Johansson's Lucy (2014) co-star Pilou Asbæk is aboard to play Batou, the second best fighter in the section and her trusted lieutenant, with Juliette Binoche (Cosmopolis), 'Beat' Takeshi Kitano (The Blind Swordsman: Zatoichi), Michael Pitt (Seven Psychopaths) and Kaori Momoi (Memoirs Of A Geisha) also appearing. The members of Section 9 are played by Chin Han (The Dark knight), Danusia Samal (Tyrant), Lasarus Ratuere (The Mule), Yutaka Izumihara (Unbroken) and Tuwanda Manyimo (The Rover).

With a script by Jonathan Herman (Straight Outta Compton), Ghost In The Shell will arrive in US cinemas on 31 March 2017. For more on Ghost In The Shell, check out our Ghost In The Shell crash course guide.

First trailer and one sheet for My Cousin Rachel arrives online

Fox Searchlight have recently released their first trailer and one sheet for Roger Michell's (Notting Hill ) My Cousin Rachel.

Adapted from Daphne Du Maurier's novel, which was previously adapted for the big screen in back 1952 and by the BBC in 1983, My Cousin Rachel follows Philip (Sam Claflin), an orphan who is used to living a happy life with his cousin and guardian, Ambrose. But when Ambrose is off on one of his health related holidays, he reports back that he has fallen for the mysterious Rachel (Rachel Weisz), a distant relation, the tone of his letters starts to change and Philip decides to go and investigate. Yet he underestimates the power the beautiful Rachel will have over him...

Roger Michell's film takes both the book (with a script by the director himself) and ideas from the original film, but this first trailer represents more of the mood of the thing than much of the plot.

With Holliday Grainger (Cinderella) and Iain Glen (Game Of Thrones) also in the cast, My Cousin Rachel will be out in the UK on 9 June.

Sunday, 5 March 2017

"What you seek is far greater than you ever imagined. It is your destiny"

StudioCanal have recently released their latest trailer for James Gray's (We Own the Night) The Lost City Of Z.

Adapted from David Grann's nonfiction tome, The Lost City Of Z follows Percy Fawcett (Charlie Hunnam), who headed into the Amazon on a mapping quest in 1925. There, suffering from a nasty case of malaria, he claimed to have discovered a mythical city he called the Lost City of Z. When his adventurer peers roundly mocked the idea as a fantasy or fraud, Fawcett gathered up his son and some other companions and headed back into the jungle to prove his point. And that is the last anyone saw of the party...

Edward Ashley (In The Heart Of The Sea) is Arthur Manley, a young corporal who accompanied Fawcett on his apparently doomed expedition. Robert Pattinson (Remember Me) is Henry Costin, another bored corporal who answered Fawcett's advertisement to become his aide-de-camp. Tom Holland (The Impossible) plays Fawcett's son Jack, while Sienna Miller (Stardust) is Fawcett's supportive wife, Nina. The trailer points to the adventure being a truly risky one, full of dangerous encounters with fauna and arrows.

The Lost City Of Z will venture on to UK screens on 24 March.

New one sheet for King Arthur: Legend Of The Sword arrives online

Warner Bros have recently released their latest one sheet for Guy Ritchie's (Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows) King Arthur: Legend Of The Sword.

Charlie Hunnam (Pacific Rim) stars as the titular head of the Round Table, with Àstrid Bergès-Frisbey (Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides) as Guinevere, Eric Bana (Lone Survivor) as Arthur's father, Uther Pendragon, while Ritchie's old Sherlock Holmes collaborator Jude Law is the villainous Vortigern and Djimon Hounsou (Blood Diamond) as Sir Bedivere, one of Uther's old comrades who takes Arthur under his wing.

Edge Of Tomorrow (2014) producer Joby Harold has written a script that finds a young Arthur as a streetwise type running the back alleys of Londonium, unaware of his royal destiny. Until, that is, he somehow grasps hold of the sword Excalibur, and finds himself challenged by its power. He joins forces with the resistance, meets Guinevere and has to learn to master the sword while battling his demons as well as the tyrannical Vortigern. Can he avenge his murdered parents and claim his rightful place on the throne? If the film is a success, Harold and Ritchie have plans for a six-film franchise spun from the stories of Arthur and co.

With Aidan Gillen (Game Of Thrones) and Mikael Persbrandt (The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug) also aboard, King Arthur: Legend Of The Sword will arrive in cinemas 12 May.