A hefty dollop of news this instalment, prepare for an onslaught of trailers, pics and news to leave you stone-cold drunk:
- An event called the Super Bowl played out this Sunday (I’m reliably informed that this is some sort of sporting event) which means as always a bevy of TV spots of some of 2017s biggest films. The most expensive year, one 30-sec spot costing $5 million this time out, meant there wasn’t quite as many to savour but a selection of the best is laced throughout, first up is the best a new look at Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2. Soundtracked by Fleetwood Mac and offering up more insane visuals than ever before it suitably won the show:
- Paramount Pictures have removed a new Friday the 13th reboot and the World War Z sequel from their release window. Both are thought to still be in active development, but seeing as WWZ2 was set to come out June this year and currently has no director then its disappearance was inevitable. As for Friday the 13th, I’m stumped as to how they cannot make this work, it is one of the simplest and most potential-laden of the horror franchises but after the lacklustre reaction to the last reboot expect this one to struggle to awaken from its development nightmare.
- Stranger Things became THE cultural event of last year, and season 2 returns us to the Upside Down this Halloween (soooo far away), the Super Bowl offered a brief snippet and once more the 80s influences are in full effect. The real question though, is Barb going to be avenged?!
- Marvel have just released the first teaser for their next Netflix show Iron Fist. A much more mystical character compared to the other 3 in The Defenders. A billionaire Danny Rand (Finn Jones from GoT) returns to NYC with a mastery of Kung-Fu to clean up the city. How this much more fantastical character will play against the grounded nature of the other three will be seen in this summers team-up show but for now this looks large scale with some cool looking fights and some nice connections to the other shows. Rosario Dawson features as Claire Temple once more! All episodes hit Netflix March 17th.
- The first set-photos have leaked of Alicia Vikander as Lara Croft in Tomb Raider, and she looks very much the part. Clearly jacking up to play the adventure seeking heroine, the influence of the more recent iteration of the video game character is evident. Directed by Roar Uthaung (yes his name is Roar!!) Tomb Raider opens March 16th 2018.
- Ben Affleck has elected to step down as director of The Batman. He will still appear as the Caped Crusader but won’t call the shots due to him declaring that he wants to focus on delivering the strongest performance possible. An odd decision seeing as he has starred in and directed all of his own films bar one, and managed to deliver solid performances in all of them. Rumours abound of troubles with the script, and that WB as per usual are getting far too involved in the direction it takes. Affleck made for a strong Bruce Wayne so I’m still psyched for the film but as with all of the DC output I’m keeping a cautious distance.
- Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge dropped a proper full look during the Super Bowl (I told you there were a few trailers didn’t I) and visually it certainly explains the nigh on 2 year gap between filming and release. Story wise I’m still unsure, it looks to be another supernatural villain (this time Javier Bardem’s Salazar, hamming it up as always) out to get Captain Jack. This tease once again hides the key players for the most part, with Geoffrey Rush’s Captain Barbossa getting more screentime than Johnny Depp’s infamous Pirate. Disney made an error with the previous 3 films in making Captain Jack the primary focus, when he should be at the sidelines! Still this at least looks like a large scale Summer epic.
- Next in the Super Bowl trailer arsenal we have Transformers: The Last Knight. Stupidly over the top as always, with the addition of Sir Anthony Hopkins being the only selling point this time out. Michael Bay has stated that this will be his final time behind the camera, but alas he has said this before! I would say perhaps he may have mellowed and teamed his usually solid action chops with a tangible decent plot, but let’s not kid ourselves here. This will be noisy, brash and make huge $$.
- Kong: Skull Island is edging ever closer, and the big budget monster movie has released two very unique posters. One is an evocatively beautiful reference to Apocalypse Now:
The other is a Kajiu influenced Japanese poster that is just wonderful, kitschy and just a little bit silly:
- Next up from the Super Bowl comes a snippet of the space set horror film Life. Starring Ryan Reynolds and Jake Gyllenhaal, it has vague echoes of Alien with its assorted crew tightly trapped with an extraterrestrial menace. Said menace is kept gloriously hidden and I’m definitely loving the vibes this one is giving off.
- It appears the next installment of the X-Men movie series has been revealed. Leaks suggest it will be called X-Men: Supernova and once again tell the story of Jean Grey becoming Dark Phoenix. Famously butchered in X-Men The Last Stand, this time out they are going to go full sci-fi with it. The Phoenix is a space entity, but for a series that hasn’t really touched on the outer space aspect before (the X-Men regularly fought in the galaxy in the comics) it’s going to be a sudden lurch. Also I feel like they are leaping into this arc too soon, only having met the young Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) in the last film, Apocalypse. Bryan Singer will not be returning but he is lined up to direct a new TV series set in the X-Men universe. Not much is known about the series currently, but it will debut early next year.
- The final piece in our Super Bowl collection is the suitably insane Fast and Furious 8! Somehow they manage to get ever more outlandish and I absolutely love it. The whole Dom turning evil thing is pretty basic stuff but with the Stath, the Rock and the Russell involved the testosterone is off the chain.
- You’ll notice I haven’t written much about the Oscars due to the amount of think pieces that saturate the internet around this time but suffice to say La La Land will win everything, Meryl Streep in there instead of Amy Adams (who could’ve been nominated for two fine performances last year) is a travesty and no Sing Street in Original Song is criminal. I will actually be in California for it this year!!!
- Justice League has revealed another pic of part of the titular team, Cyborg, Aquaman and Wonder Woman are ready to fight, although the inherent lack of colour isn’t encouraging. Justice League opens November 17th.
- Possibly the biggest story of the last month is almost ridiculously a title reveal. It just so happens though that that title reveal is for Star Wars Episode 8! Quite frankly the biggest franchise going, yes even more than Marvel (no Marvel title announcements inspire blogposts like this one did), we now know that it will be called The Last Jedi! Hard to know if this relates to Luke Skywalker, or newbie Jedi Rey. It also doesn’t help that the plural for Jedi is Jedi, so the implications of this title are massive. The sad thing is no footage is likely to be released until April.
- Finally I have to say a few words about the tragic loss of the legend that is John Hurt, who died on 25th January. It is tough to boil down the essence and influence of his sheer body of work into just a few words. He was a supremely talented actor, and a welcome presence in all that he appeared, most recently he brought a quiet dignity to his brief role in Jackie. Hurt had a crumpled humanity to him, with his captivating grasp of a voice adding such gravitas and power to his performances. He could do so much with very little, just look at his phenomenal efforts in The Elephant Man. Weighed down by immense prosthetics and with little dialogue, but each line he brought such pain, such soul, such grace. There was something so quintessentially alive about Hurt, and a light that can never be dimmed, even in death. He will be sorely missed.