Fiona’s Most Anticipated Films of Sundance 2019

Written by Fiona Underhill

It’s always difficult to predict what the ‘break outs’ of Sundance will be, but of course, excitement can be generated by finding out that your favourite directors or actors have new films coming out. So, here are my most-anticipated features of Sundance 2019.


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#1 – The Souvenir (dir. Joanna Hogg)

One of our best British directors, Joanna Hogg made two of my favourite films – Unrelated (2007) and Archipelago (2010) – both starring Tom Hiddleston – and I’m so excited that she has a new film out. The Souvenir stars Tilda Swinton (swoon) and Richard Ayoade (swoon again) and is set to have two parts, following a film student in the 1980s. Sign me all the way up.

 

#2 – The Nightingale (dir. Jennifer Kent)

Sam Claflin has recently gone from big-budget fantasy franchises to smaller films, many of which were directed by women (The Riot Club, Their Finest, Me Before You) and which have proven his acting chops (Journey’s End, My Cousin Rachel). He is back with a female director again here, The Babadook’s Jennifer Kent, in a film set in the early 19th century Australian outback. It sounds like he’ll be playing against type, in a more villainous role here as well. Cannot wait.

 

#3 – Blinded by the Light (dir. Gurinder Chadha)

The director of Bhaji on the BeachBend it Like BeckhamBride and Prejudice and Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging comes a new film set in the 1980s (again) about a teenager finding his voice through the music of Bruce Springsteen. Featuring a fantastic British cast including Kulvinder Ghir, Sally Phillips, Rob Brydon and Hayley Atwell.

 

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#4 – The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind (dir. Chiwetel Ejiofor)

One of my favourite British actors (I’ve seen him on stage as well as in multiple film and TV roles) is now making his feature film debut as a director. I have seen his 2013 short, Columbite Tantalite which shows his potential as a director. Set in Malawi and starring Ejiofor himself, as well as The Cursed Child’s Noma Dumezweni, the film follows a young boy who helps his village build a wind turbine after reading about them in a library book.

 

#5 – Animals (dir. Sophie Hyde)

After a decade of partying, Laura and Tyler’s friendship is strained by Laura’s new love and her focus on her novel. A snapshot of a modern woman with competing desires, at once a celebration of female friendship and an examination of the choices we make when facing a crossroads. Starring Holliday Grainger (an amazing British actress) and Alia Shawkat.

 

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#6 – Late Night (directed by Nisha Ganatra, written by Mindy Kaling)

Starring Emma Thompson and Mindy Kaling. A legendary late-night talk show host’s world is turned upside down when she hires her only female staff writer. Originally intended to smooth over diversity concerns, her decision has unexpectedly hilarious consequences as the two women separated by culture and generation are united by their love of a biting punchline.

 

#7 – The Lodge (dir. Veronika Franz; Severin Fiala)

In this psychologically chilling slow burn, a young woman and her reticent new stepchildren find themselves isolated in the family’s remote winter cabin, locked away to dredge up the mysteries of her dark past and the losses that seem to haunt them all. Starring Riley Keough, Alicia Silverstone and Richard Armitage.

 

#8 – The Sunlit Night (dir. David Wnendt)

Between New York City and the far north of Norway, an American painter and a Russian émigré find each other in the Arctic circle. Together under a sun that never sets, they discover a future and family that they didn’t know they had. Starring Jenny Slate, Zach Galifianakis and Gillian Anderson.

 

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#9 – Velvet Buzzsaw (dir. Dan Gilroy)

This film reunites Dan Gilroy with his Nightcrawler stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Rene Russo. A thriller set in the contemporary art world scene of Los Angeles, where big money artists and mega-collectors pay a high price when art collides with commerce. Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Toni Collette, Zawe Ashton and Tom Sturridge.

 

#10 – Little Monsters (dir. Abe Forsythe)

Starring Lupita Nyong’o. A film dedicated to all the kindergarten teachers who motivate children to learn, instill them with confidence and stop them from being devoured by zombies.

 

#11 – Mope (dir. Lucas Heyne)

Two ‘mopes’ – the lowest-level male performers in the porn industry – set their sights on an impossible dream: stardom. StarringNathan Stewart-Jarrett, star of two of my favourite TV series of all time; Misfits and Utopia.

 

#12 – Sweetheart (Director: JD Dillard)

Jenn has washed ashore on a small tropical island and it doesn’t take her long to realize she’s completely alone. She must spend her days not only surviving the elements, but must also fend off the malevolent force that comes out each night. Starring Kiersey Clemons(Hearts Beat Loud) and Emory Cohen (Brooklyn).

The Circle Of Disney Live-Action Remakes

Written by Megan Williams

Disney currently seems to be going through a phase of remaking their classic animated films and turning them into CGI/Live-Action features. So far, they’ve remade Alice in Wonderland, Cinderella, The Jungle Book and a sequel to the 1964 film Mary Poppins is due to be released in December. And they aim to continue this phase with a remake of the 1994 film The Lion King, to be released next year.

The Lion King was essentially a retelling of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, except it was set in Africa and featured animals. The film has so far grossed over $100 million worldwide, making it Disney’s 3rd highest grossing animated film ever, next to Zootopia and Frozen.

So, I’ve probably just answered my own question but: WHY IS THIS BEING REMADE?!

The Lion King is my favourite Disney film; I would even go so far as to say it’s a perfect film: it has the right level of emotional depth to make viewers care for the characters, a simple but brilliant story, a fantastic soundtrack and score and the hand-drawn animation is gorgeous.

The teaser made the smart move of replicating the original film’s teaser, by showing viewers the iconic opening scene. This time, the scene is recreated with CGI animation and, while the photo-realistic visuals are impressive, it looks very bland. What I loved about the animation in the 1994 film was how colourful and vibrant the setting and characters looked. By recreating the film to make it look realistic, it seems to have lost the charm that the source material had.

However, there are a couple of aspects that I do like about the remake: James Earl Jones is returning as the voice of Mufasa, and Hans Zimmer is returning as the composer. As well as this, the voice cast is impressive: John Oliver as Zazu, Seth Rogen as Pumbaa, Donald Glover as adult Simba, Beyonce as adult Nala and Chiwetel Ejiofor as Scar. If there’s one thing that can be praised at the moment, it’s the brilliant casting choices.

Disney have also revealed the official poster:

It’s simple yet effective, and it conveys the theme of the film beautifully by not saying much at all: Simba will need to take his place in the great circle of life as King of the Pridelands.

While there are a couple of things I like about this remake, it is not enough to actually convince me to go and see it. I give the original film extremely high praise and I don’t think this should be given the remake treatment. However, given Disney’s recent box office earnings, this will still probably be successful.

Oh well: Hakuna Matata!

 

Disney Release First Teaser Trailer For Jon Favreau’s ‘The Lion King’

Directed by: Jon Favreau

Cast: Donald Glover, Beyoncé, James Earl Jones, Seth Rogan, Keegan-Michael Key, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Bill Echner, Eric André, John Oliver

Release Date: 19th July, 2019

First Trailer For Garth Davis’ ‘Mary Magdalene’ Arrives

“‘Mary Magdalene’ is an authentic and humanistic portrait of one of the most enigmatic and misunderstood spiritual figures in history. The biblical biopic tells the story of Mary (Rooney Mara), a young woman in search of a new way of living. Constricted by the hierarchies of the day, Mary defies her traditional family to join a new social movement led by the charismatic Jesus of Nazareth (Joaquin Phoenix). She soon finds a place for herself within the movement and at the heart of a journey that will lead to Jerusalem.”

Directed By: Garth Davis

Cast: Rooney Mara, Joaquin Phoenix, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Ariane Labed, 

Release Date: 16th March 2018

New Mind-Bending Doctor Strange Trailer

The second official trailer for the upcoming Cumber-film (yes, thats a thing), ‘Doctor Strange’, premiered as part of the Marvel panel at Comic-Con last week; so what does it have to offer? Going by this trailer, ‘Doctor Strange’ actually appears to be more Batman Begins-level-earnest and less Guardians of the Galaxy comedy-fest.

Benedict Cumberbatch appears, complete with American accent, as the titular Doctor Strange, the surgeon who loses the use of the tools of his trade, his hands, in a car accident. We are treated to Stephen Strange hitting single piano keys, showing off those fine looking digits. Soon we hear the dulcet tones of Tilda Swinton, as The Ancient One, as she talks us through Strange’s transformation into a master of magic, again echoing ‘Batman Begins’ and Ra’s Al Ghul. Indeed, the whole trailer feels like director Scott Derrickson’s love letter to Christopher Nolan – Inception 2.0 anyone?
 

The stellar cast is rounded out by Rachel McAdams, as Strange’s love interest Christine Palmer (here’s hoping she is given more to do than hand-holding and brow-mopping), the always-excellent Mads Mikkelsen as main bad guy Kaecilius, Benedict Wong as sort-of sidekick Wong and Chiwetel Ejiofor as fellow apprentice Baron Karl Mordo, who provides the one bit of light relief to the trailer with a curveball joke about mysterious words.

Is the world ready for another overly-earnest superhero movie? Hopefully the incredible cast, and what appear to be some mind-blowing special effects, will levitate ‘Doctor Strange’ above the competition.
‘Daoctor Strange’ comes to big screens in the UK on October 28th 2016
Written by Abbie Eales

Doctor Strange First Trailer

WHAT THE HELL?!?! So the CG magic of films like ‘Inception’ gets the Marvel Studios treatment, and it looks very cryptic and very fun. This could either turn into a giant CG mess, or a really fun and adventurous superhero movie. Definitely outside the box with the use of the “chakra” and spiritual angle, this also looks to be Cumberbatch’s next BIG thing. Seeing as how everyone loves him, we don’t see him drawing much criticism from this role. There’s also small hints of other characters and other great talents including, (but not limited to) Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, and the brilliant Tilda Swinton. Interestingly, director Scott Derrickson is better known for his horror work, so who knows what to expect from this one.

‘Doctor Strange’ is set to appear in UK cinemas 28th October 2016

Top 10 Most Anticipated Blockbusters of 2016

Written by Daniel Chadwick

Big event movies aren’t dead yet…Sure, we live in a Golden Age of television right now; stretching from ‘Fargo’ to ‘The People vs O.J. Simpson’ through to the recently finished, iconic ‘Breaking Bad’ and ‘Mad Men’. But let’s not count out the blockbuster yet. There are so many exciting and thrilling movies on the horizon.

 2016 alone has six superhero movies that stand out, alongside dozens of other big-budget extravaganzas. But this self-described movie nerd is here to highlight the best and brightest blockbusters of 2016.


10. Sausage Party

It’s been a while since we got an R-Rated animated movie (unless you count the likes of Anomalisa and South Park) and Seth Rogen’s latest venture looks like it might be a standout hit. I personally have loved some of the TV-MA shows on Netflix such as ‘Archer’ and ‘Bojack Horseman’ so I’m quite excited for this. After seeing that NSFW trailer count me in.


 

9. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Many will find it shocking to find a Star Wars movie at the lower end of my top 10, but I’m still not convinced. Yes, ‘The Force Awakens’ was a step in the right direction, and far better than any of the prequel trilogy, but Star Wars still doesn’t have my complete trust back, especially considering this movie is rumoured to include no Jedi and is a spin off. For now I’m reservedly excited.


 

8. Finding Dory

The only kids movie on this list, ‘Finding Dory’ is the only sequel I’ve wanted from Pixar besides the follow up to ‘The Incredibles’. Dory is voiced brilliantly by Ellen Degeneres and seeing all the band back together for this sequel only gets me more excited. Finally we’ll get some insight into the standout star of ‘Finding Nemo’.


 assassins creed

7. Assassin’s Creed

This, in my mind, will be the definitive video game to movie adaptation. Justin Kurzel has proven himself as a visually astounding director (see Macbeth, also with Fassbender and Cotillard) and he also knows his action set pieces. This franchise is rich for interpretation and Michael Fassbender can do no wrong in my book. Bring Marion Cotillard and Jeremy Irons in and I’m fully on board.


suicide squad

6. Suicide Squad

After the disappointment (for some) of ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’, ‘Suicide Squad’ carries huge responsibility for the DC Cinematic Universe now, and I think it will be a big winner for Warner Bros. The trailers have been fantastic and it looks like it could be the anti-hero movie that comic book fans have been waiting for. It also could be Jai Courtney’s first good role… ever, so that in itself makes this movie one to watch.


 

5. Star Trek: Beyond

I’m a massive fan of the new ‘Star Trek’ movie series and this new addition looks to be in the spirit of the rest of the series. ‘Star Trek’ used cool music from the 80’s long before ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ did, so screw the haters of the music in the ‘Star Trek: Beyond’ trailer. Bring on the man, the myth, the legend Idris Elba as the main antagonist of the movie. I can’t wait to get back together with the crew of the Enterprise.


 

4. Doctor Strange

Marvel’s first attempt at handling magic looks to be very unique, and the first origin story to come out of Marvel since ‘Captain America: The First Avenger’. It also dives deeper into the Quantum Realm which we were introduced to in ‘Ant-Man’. Throw in Benedict Cumberbatch as Stephen Strange, Tilda Swinton as The Ancient One, Rachel McAdams and Chiwetel Ejifor, and this movie promises to be one of the best Marvel ensembles seen in a standalone character film.


 Bourne 5

 3. Jason Bourne

The return of Jason Bourne, the most bad-ass spy that has ever graced the silver screen. Matt Damon is back alongside Bourne extraordinaire Paul Greengrass to present the life of Jason Bourne years after the events of ‘The Bourne Ultimatum’. This offers a potentially interesting look into domestic surveillance and the big role surveillance now plays in spying on people. Will Bourne be out for justice? Does he finally remember everything as he said in the trailer? I can’t wait to find out!


2. Passengers

Two of Hollywood’s biggest stars get together in this sci-fi epic about a man (Chris Pratt) who wakes up from cryosleep 60 years early on a trip to a distant colony. Faced with the prospect of growing old and dying alone he wakes up another crew member (Jennifer Lawrence). Directed by Morten Tyldum (The Imitation Game), this movie takes a unique look at space, this time offering us a romance in space. We haven’t even seen a picture yet, never mind a trailer but looks like a potential Oscar contender while being a movie with a huge budget.


civil war

1. Captain America: Civil War

There really couldn’t be any other. As a huge Marvel fan, this movie has been on my radar for years and after seeing the countless trailers I’m counting down the days. It’s been called ‘The Godfather’ of superhero movies and I believe that 100%. This movie is going to make me laugh, jump up and down and cry. Introducing us to Spider-Man and Black Panther, it wouldn’t be a surprise if ‘Civil War’ turns out to be Marvel’s best movie yet.


What do you think? Let’s start the debate in the comments below or hit us up on Twitter 

The Martian

Written by Chris Winterbottom
Edited by Nick Deal

Ridley Scott has had mixed results with his various filmmaking projects, during a career which has spanned almost 40 years, from exquisite masterpieces such as ‘Alien’ to the painfully dull ‘Kingdom of Heaven’. His name is synonymous with quality, yet for me, I am always sceptical when a new Ridley Scott film is released. ‘Exodus: Gods And Kings’ was a disappointment with both audiences and critics and ‘The Counsellor’ was highly divisive. There is always the promise of something great with a Ridley Scott film though, and it was no different when ‘The Martian’, with Matt Damon at the fore, was announced.

‘The Martian’ takes Scott back to the familiar territory of the science-fiction genre, something he attempted to do with the recent ‘Prometheus’, which met a luke-warm reception at best. Based on an acclaimed novel of the same name, ‘The Martian’ sees Mark Watney, played by Matt Damon, stranded on the Red Planet after a fierce storm hits and the rest of his crew flee without him. Watney is presumed dead, finding himself alone on this alien land with only meagre supplies, his grit, determination and will to survive keeping him company. Get an idea of what is to come by watching the trailer.

The film seems interesting to me and promises to be a simpler project for Scott, who is more accustomed to directing films that are epic in every sense of the word such as ‘Gladiator’. For a while he was fancied (although I debate this) as the David Lean or John Ford of the modern era, creating huge expansive movies in the epic genre; a genre that was previously dormant in Hollywood. It says a lot about Scott’s portfolio of work, that a movie spanning millions of miles, between Earth and Mars, appears to be a much more intimate and elementary project than he is used to.

The idea of a man stranded alone in a foreign place is not a new concept and the idea reminded me, to some degree, of the plot of ‘Cast Away’. Just replace the island for a planet and you may see the similarities. Although it does promise to be much more than just a simple “lost in space film”. Scott’s movies, particularly those set in space, often have great big philosophical mutterings embedded in the story. ‘Alien’ was concerned with the fear of women and ‘Prometheus’ simply asked “how did it all begin?” I have no doubt that ‘The Martian’ will have plenty of thematic exploration in the film to keep us interested, and will have us talking about it days after we’ve seen it. I love films that ignite the audience’s intellect, making them question what it all means, creating debate between friends and family.

I have not read the source material, written by Andy Weir, although I am now going to pick up a copy in preparation for this movie. It has proven to be very popular and even the one and only Tom Hanks stated he will be first in line when the film is released. The film clearly has some high-profile backing, not to mention a quite brilliant cast ensemble, particularly Jessica Chastain who is one of the finest screen talents working today. It is surprising to see Kristen Wiig on the cast sheet, an actor who we have seen mostly in comedies rather than sci-fi epics. But Wiig is a capable and watchable screen presence and I am looking forward to seeing her in a film completely at odds with anything she has done before. We might see a change in her career, much in the same way Jonah Hill has transformed his. From working in Judd Apatow movies, to being nominated at the Academy Awards twice for his work on ‘Moneyball’ and ‘The Wolf Of Wall Street’, it is clear that Hill was prepared to challenge himself. Perhaps Wiig will have a similar career trajectory, maybe even a nomination or two will come her way. When you consider the cast also includes Chiwetel Ejiofor, Sean Bean, Michael Pena and Kate Mara, it’s impossible not to be impressed.

Matt Damon is another actor I feel is underrated. He doesn’t have the classic leading man look and yet, like Benedict Cumberbatch or Tom Hanks himself, he is insanely charismatic. An important quality of the film is to be focussed predominantly on his character alone; big responsibility indeed. He will have to deliver a terrific performance, and carry the burden of being on-screen for such a long time; much like Hanks did in ‘Cast Away’ or Sam Rockwell did in ‘Moon’. Damon was actually concerned about the role saying that it was too similar to the one he played in Christopher Nolan’s epic ‘Interstellar’. I can see his point, although Scott has been quick to nullify the issue by saying the films are nothing like each other. It’s fair to say then, that on this evidence, ‘The Martian’ will probably have a more existential philosophical tone rather than the hardcore physics exam-like tone that existed in Nolan’s film. 

We get a “lost in space” film annually now, and ‘The Martian’ is undeniably this year’s installment, but I am looking forward to this film immensely. Despite being a fan of all the actors involved, I am somewhat disillusioned by Ridley Scott’s work. I really want this to be as great as it looks, but I have the overwhelming fear that it will be a great big let-down. The film’s UK release is penned in for 30 September, a period that is stranded between summer blockbuster season and the time where awards panels are on the lookout for contenders, which is never a good sign. But with a cast this good, a story so simple and with source material to fall back on, it is the first Ridley Scott film I truly believe, with all my heart, has to be great. Fingers crossed.

Rachel McAdams Rumoured For Doctor Strange Role

There have been plenty of murmurs lately surrounding the ‘Doctor Strange’ project and the possible addition of Rachel McAdams to a cast which already boasts Benedict Cumberbatch, Tilda Swinton and Chiwetel Ejiofor. Neither Marvel nor McAdams have confirmed anything, but the actress did tell the LA Times: “It’s still super-early days, and I don’t know where that’s gonna go, if it’s gonna go anywhere at all”.

There are numerous possible roles that McAdams could fill, were she to join the cast, but the most notable and likely is the sorceress Clea, the Doctor’s main love interest through the comic book story arcs. Everyone loves a romantic edge to their superhero stories after all. ‘Doctor Strange’ is expected for release in the UK 28th October 2016.

Written by Jakob Lewis Barnes