Black Panther (2018)

All Hail the King

Directed by Ryan Coogler
Starring Chadwick BosemanMichael B. JordanLupita Nyong’oDanai GuriraMartin FreemanDaniel KaluuyaLetitia WrightWinston DukeAngela BassettForest WhitakerAndy Serkis

The African nation Wakanda is a super-advanced, technological power which masquerades as a Third World nation to avoid international attention, while imbedding spies in other countries. Some establishing scenes explain that four tribes founded the nation, while a fifth – the Jabari – opted out of the rule of the Black Panther, a warrior empowered by a ‘heart-shaped herb’ which, like much in Wakanda, was itself transformed by the arrival on Earth of a meteorite of the alien metal vibranium. We also see the former king, T’Chaka (Atandwa Kani, whose father John Kani plays the older T’Chaka in Captain America: Civil War) coming to America to retrieve his brother N’Jobu, who sold out the country’s secrets to fund some nebulous criminal activity.

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Lego Ninjago Movie (2017)

Find your inner piece

Directed by Charlie Bean, Paul Fisher and Bob Logan 
Starring Dave FrancoJustin TherouxFred ArmisenAbbi JacobsonOlivia MunnKumail NanjianiMichael PeñaZach Woods and Jackie Chan

A young boy enters an antique shop, where the owner (Chan) tells him the legend of Ninjago, a city under constant attack by the evil Lord Garmadon (Theroux). The city is defended by six mysterious ninjas under the tutelage of Master Wu (Chan), one of whom is actually Lloyd Garmadon (Franco), estranged by still widely despised son of Lord Garmadon. In an attempt to finally drive his father out of his life, Lloyd steals the Ultimate Weapon from Wu, inadvertently unleashing the terrible Meowthra on the city.

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Early Man (2018)

“Real Men Don’t Settle For Bronze”

Directed by Nick Park
Starring Eddie Redmayne, Tom Hiddleston, Maisie Williams and Timothy Spall

Somewhere around about the dawn of time, the meteor that killed the dinosaurs also carved out a sheltered, fertile valley, where a Stone Age tribe modestly prospered until the ruthless Lord Nooth (Hiddleston) and his Francophone, Bronze Age cohorts arrive to kick the out and mine the valley for bronze. Most of the tribe, led by their Chief, Bobnar (Spall), slope off into the volcanic badlands, but young Dug (Redmayne) follows the invaders to their city, where he challenges their champion football team, Real Bronzio, for the future of the valley.

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Coco (2018)

“The Celebration of a Lifetime”

Directed by Lee Unkrich
Starring Anthony Gonzalez, Gael García Bernal, Benjamin Bratt, Alanna Ubach, Renée Victor, Ana Ofelia Murguía, and Edward James Olmos

Miguel (Gonzalez) is a young Mexican who longs to be a musician, but his family have been dead set against all music since the ancestral patriarch abandoned his wife Imelda (Ubach) and daughter Coco (Murguia) in search of fame. His adopted street dog Dante breaks the family ofrenda on the Day of the Dead, revealing a hidden, partial photo of his great grandfather which suggests that he was Ernesto de la Cruz (Bratt), favourite son of the village and greatest musician in Mexican history. Miguel ‘borrows’ de la Cruz’s guitar from his tomb to take part in a music competition, but becomes cursed for taking from the dead and trapped in the Land of the Dead.

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Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge (2017)

In a flip of the usual, the UK title is lame.

“All Pirates Must Die”

Directed by Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg
Starring Johnny Depp, Javier Bardem, Geoffrey Rush, Brenton Thwaites, Kaya Scodelario, Kevin McNally

Henry Turner (Thwaites) is obsessed with saving his father from the curse of The Flying Dutchman. Carina Smyth (Scodelario) is obsessed with uncovering the location of the Trident of Poseidon to validate her faith in the father who abandoned her as a baby, with nought but a diary to her name. As the trident can raise any curse of the sea, these two quests coincide, but not before Henry has run afoul of the British, and of the spectral pirate-hunter Salazar (Bardem), who sends him out with a message to Jack Sparrow (Depp) that he will be coming for him when his curse breaks, which, despite the fact that Salazar has been champing at the bit for this for decades, happens almost immediately.

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Storks (2016)

“A bundle of trouble is coming”

Directed by Nicholas Stoller and Doug Sweetland
Starring Andy Samberg, Katie Crown, Kelsey Grammer, Jennifer Aniston, Ty Burrell, Keegan-Michael Key, Jordan Peele, Danny Trejo

The storks of Stork Mountain have long been out of the baby business, instead delivering packages for Totally Not Amazon(TM). Top delivery stork Junior (Samberg) is due to be promoted to CEO when the incumbent, Hunter (Grammer), gets kicked upstairs, but first he need to ‘liberate’ the company’s sole human employee, Orphan Tulip (Crown), whose delivery address was lost when she was a baby, precipitating the move away from baby delivery. Taking pity on Tulip, Junior instead moves the overeager young woman to the defunct postal sorting room. There, she transfers a letter from lonely only-child Nate (Anton Starkman) into the old baby factory, creating a custom baby girl.

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The Death Cure (2018)


“Every Maze Has an End”

Directed by Wes Ball
Starring Dylan O’Brien, Kaya Scodelario, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Dexter Darden, Giancarlo Esposito, Aidan Gillen, Walton Goggins, Ki Hong Lee, Barry Pepper, Will Poulter, Patricia Clarkson and Rosa Salazar

Following Teresa’s (Scodelario) betrayal in The Scorch Trials, Thomas (O’Brien) and Newt (Brodie-Sangster) are intent on rescuing their comrade Minho (Lee), with the help of survivalists Jorge (Esposito) and Brenda (Salazar) and revolutionary Vince (Pepper). WCKD are determined to hold onto Minho, however, as Teresa and her mentor Ava (Clarkson) believe that his blood holds the key to a cure which could save the Last City from the Flare virus.

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The Commuter (2018)

“Lives are on the Line”

Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra
Starring Liam Neeson, Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Jonathan Banks, Elizabeth McGovern and Sam Neill

Ex-cop turned insurance salesman Michael McCauley (Neeson) takes the train to work in the city every day, until the day he gets laid off after ten years and with his son about to go to university. After meeting up with former partner Alex Murphy (Wilson) for a drink and a moan about the state of the world and the politicising of cops under the likes of Captain David Hawethorne (Neill), he takes the train home. En route, a mysterious woman named Joanna (Farmiga) offers him $100,000 if he can find someone on the train who is riding to the last stop on the line, but does not belong among the regular commuters.

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Paddington 2 (2017)

“It takes a bear to catch a thief”

Directed by Paul King
Starring Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Brendan Gleeson, Julie Walters, Jim Broadbent, Peter Capaldi, Hugh Grant and Ben Whishaw (voice)

Paddington (Whishaw), whom I should probably point out is a bear, has settled into life in London with the Brown family (Bonneville, Hawkins, Madelaine Harris and Samuel Joslin) and their elderly relative, Mrs Bird (Walters). Missing his Aunt Lucy (Imelda Staunton, voice), he wants to send her a pop-up book of London he finds in the antiques shop owned by Mr Gruber (Broadbent). Paddington sets out to earn enough money to buy the rare volume, but unwittingly sets caddish actor Phoenix Buchanan (Grant) onto the trail of the book.

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Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (2017)

“A universe without boundaries needs heroes without limits.”

Directed by Luc Besson
Starring Dane DeHaan, Cara Delevingne, Clive Owen, Rihanna, Ethan Hawke, Herbie Hancock, Kris Wu, Rutger Hauer

A paradisiacal world of blue-skinned, pearl-fishing humanoids is destroyed by a rain of destroyed spaceships, but their princess is able to send a telepathic message which reaches Valerian (DeHaan), a happy-go-lucky agent of the United Human Federation with serious boundary issues, as seen in his relationship with his professional partner Laureline (Delevingne). He also appears to have some concentration problems, blowing an undercover op when two of the blue people show up while he is retrieving a Mul converter – an organism which replicates matter, and was native to the planet he dreamed he saw destroyed – from a black market trader.

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