Directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck Starring Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Mendelsohn, Djimon Hounsou, Lee Pace, Lashana Lynch, Gemma Chan, Annette Bening, Clark Gregg and Jude Law
Vers (Larsen) is a wisecracking, amnesiac member of the Kree special forces unit Starforce, serving with CO Yon-Rogg (Law), sniper Minn-Erva (Chan) and heavy Korath (Hounsou) on search and rescue missions for the Supreme Intelligence, an AI that appears to individuals as the person they most admire. When the team falls into an ambush while trying to rescue an undercover agent, Vers is separated from the unit and captured by shapeshifting Skrull commander Talos (Mendelsohn), whose interrogation machine uncovers memories of a scientist named Lawson (Bening) on the planet Earth.
Directed by Stephen Merchant Starring Florence Pugh, Lena Headey, Nick Frost, Jack Lowden, Vince Vaughan and Dwayne Johnson
Saraya Bevis (Pugh) grows up in a family of wrestlers, including her parents – ‘Rowdy’ Ricky (Frost) and ‘Sweet’ Saraya (Headey) Knight – and brother Zak ‘Zodiac’ (Lowden). She herself wrestles as Britani Knight, as well as helping to run the family business and training local wrestlers with her brother. Opportunity knocks for the Knight family, when Saraya and Zak are invited by trainer Hutch Morgan (Vaughan) to try out for the WWE. Saraya – using the ring name Paige, as the WWE already has a Brittany – is the only successful candidate, and travels to Florida to train with NXT.
Directed by Mike Mitchell Starring Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Tiffany Haddish, Stephanie Beatriz, Charlie Day, Alison Brie, Nick Offerman and Maya Rudolph
Five years after the end of The Lego Movie, the briefly idyllic LEGO settlement of Bricksburg has been devastated by the repeated attacks of aliens from beyond the ‘Stairgate’. Emmett (Pratt), the last optimist in Apocalypseburg, is troubled by dreams of a coming ‘Armamageddon.’ He creates a dream home for himself and his partner, Lucy (Banks), which draws the attention of the aliens with its shininess. General Mayhem (Beatriz) descends on Apocalypseburg, defeating the best efforts of Lucy, Unikitty (Brie), Metalbeard (Offerman), Benny the 1980’s Spaceman (Day) and even Batman (Arnett), and abducts these five to be ‘guests’ at her queen’s ‘matrimonial ceremony’ in the Systar System.
Directed by Robert Rodriguez Starring Rosa Salazar, Christoph Waltz, Jennifer Connelly, Mahershala Ali, Ed Skrein, Jackie Earle Haley and Keean Johnson
Three hundred years after a war known as the Fall, a mysterious cyborg girl (Salazar) is discovered by Dr Dyson Ito (Waltz) in the discarded scrap from the last of the great sky cities, Zardem. He repairs her and gives her a name, Alita, but she has no memories.
Directed by Dean DeBlois Starring Jay Baruchel, America Ferrera, Cate Blanchett, Craig Ferguson and F. Murray Abraham
After a year as chief, Hiccup (Baruchel) is still engaged in the rescue of dragons captured by increasingly audacious and numerous hunters. With Berk on the brink of economic collapse, and the hunters bringing in the ruthless ‘Night Fury Killer’ Grimmel (Abraham) to bring them Toothless, Hiccup decides to seek refuge in the ‘Hidden World’, the legendary home of all dragons which his father had long sought.
Directed by Marc Forster Starring Ewan McGregor, Hayley Atwell, Bronte Carmichael, Mark Gatiss, Oliver Ford Davies, Ronke Adekoluejo, Adrian Scarborough, Jim Cummings and Brad Garrett
Christopher Robin bids a fond farewell to his friends in the Hundred-Acre Wood, including Winnie the Pooh and Tigger (both Cummings) and Eeyore (Garrett), before heading to boarding school, losing his father, growing up into Ewan McGregor, marrying an architect named Evelyn (Atwell), fighting in a war and having a daughter named Madeleine (Carmichael).
“Real villains are among us. Real heroes are within us.”
Directed by M Knight Shyamalan Starring James McAvoy, Bruce Willis, Anya Taylor-Joy, Sarah Paulson, Samuel L. Jackson, Spencer Treat Clark and Charlayne Woodard
Disassociative serial killer Kevin Crumb, aka the Horde (McAvoy), is at large in Philadelphia, following the events of Split, and being tracked by the Overseer (Willis), aka David Dunn from Unbreakable, aided by his son Joseph (Clark), now acting as his man in the van. Their eventual clash is interrupted, however, by Dr Ellie Staple (Paulson) and a SWAT team equipped with strobe lights, which disable the Horde’s superhuman combat persona, the Beast.
“Discover the incredible world of tomorrow… 15 miles straight down at LATITUDE ZERO”
Directed by Ishirō Honda
Starring Joseph Cotton, Cesar Romero, Akira Takarada, Masumi Okada, Richard Jaeckel, Patricia Medina, Linda Haynes, Kin Ōmae, Tetsu Nakamura and Hikaru Kuroki
A scientific team – Ken Tashiro (Takarada), Jules Masson (Okada) and photojournalist Perry Lawton (Jaeckel) – is rescued from a volcanic eruption by the crew of the super-advanced submarine Alpha, including Captain Craig McKenzie (Cotton), Kobo (Ōmae) and Dr Anne Barton (Haynes). Eluding the hostile submarine Black Shark, under the command of Captain Kuroi (Kuroki), they return to the Alpha’s home base at Latitude Zero, an undersea paradise located beneath the intersection of the equator and the international date line.
With the last of 2018’s crop now viewed and reviewed, it’s time to look ahead and think about what’s coming up in 2019. This is my month by month plan of action for cinema in 2019; assuming that Brexit doesn’t reduce the country to a trashfire with no international distribution details, clean water or Italian cheeses.
“In a place we hold dear, where wonder once lived… but soon from above, a new story begins.”
Directed by Rob Marshall
Starring Emily Blunt, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ben Whishaw, Emily Mortimer, Julie Walters, Dick Van Dyke, Angela Lansbury, Colin Firth and Meryl Streep
Faced with rebellious children and a wife more focused on the struggle for votes than on domestic life – and yet, who is not, as I recall, in any way pilloried for her choices, despite the film being made in 1964 – aptly-named banker George Banks struggles to find a nanny to take some of the pressure off a household supported by only two servants. Mary Poppins (Julie Andrews), ‘practically perfect in every way,’ comes out of the sky after all of the other candidates are blown away, and she and jack-of-all-trades Bert (Dick Van Dyke) take the children on adventures while gently nudging events to disrupt Mr Banks’ life and so make him recognise the things that really matter.
The Late Sequel
Twenty years after Mary Poppins first visited the Banks family, Michael (Whishaw) and Jane (Mortimer) are in trouble. He is a widowed artist and she an unmarried labour organiser, leaving them short of money and in danger of losing the family house. Fortunately, Mary Poppins (Blunt) arrives to care for Michael’s children – prematurely grown-up twins John (Nathanael Saleh) and Annabel (Pixie Davies), and their younger brother Georgie (Joel Dawson) – while Michael and Jane search for their father’s share certificate, which could cover the cost of the loan.