Directed by Kenneth Branagh Starring Kenneth Branagh, Penélope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, Judi Dench, Johnny Depp, Josh Gad, Derek Jacobi, Leslie Odom Jr., Michelle Pfeiffer, Daisy Ridley, Marwan Kenzari, Olivia Colman, Lucy Boynton, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Sergei Polunin and Tom Bateman
Spoiler warning: While this is a brand new murder mystery film at the time of writing, the source which it follows is decades old and one of the most famous whodunnits of the golden age. I will therefore be discussing the solution, at least in passing.
After solving a tricky problem in Jerusalem by shamelessly abusing the Wailing Wall, world famous Belgian detective Hercule Poirot (Branagh) and his fabulous moustaches are summoned to assist with a tricky case in London. A friend in the company, unapologetic hedonist Bouc (Bateman) gets him a berth on the overbooked Orient Express from Istanbul, alongside an eclectic bunch of travelers. On the first day of travel, he is approached by Mr Ratchett (Depp), a shady American antique dealer, who wants to hire him to watch for his enemies, but refuses. That night, the train is caught in an avalanche and derailed, and Ratchett is murdered.
Directed by Taika Waititi Starring Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Cate Blanchett, Idris Elba, Jeff Goldblum, Tessa Thompson, Karl Urban, Mark Ruffalo, Anthony Hopkins
In pursuit of his visions in Age of Ultron, Thor (Hemsworth) winds up in Muspelheim, where he breaks out of captivity to defeat Surtur, greatest of the Fire Giants. Taking Surtur’s crown seemingly defers Ragnarok, the long-prophesied fall of Asgard, but Asgard is on the skids. With Loki (Hiddleston) ruling in disguise and gatekeeper Heimdall (Elba) replaced with slacker Skurge (Urban).
Directed by Richard Clabaugh Starring Adrian Paul, Megan Blake, Luke Eberl, Danny Trejo
Next Sunday AD, and after one too many terrorist attacks the US has passed the Freedom of Observation Act, creating a unified surveillance system linking all security cameras to the Optical Defence Intelligence Network (ODIN – because naming your computer after a god couldn’t possibly go wrong.) DHS Agent Gunner (Paul) follows up intel provided by ODIN’s mobile cameras – the titular eyeborgs – and stumbles on a plot, seemingly to assassinate the president.
Directed by Ishiro Honda Starring Akira Takarada, Rhodes Reason, Mie Hama, Linda Miller, Hideyo Amamoto
Do you know what I haven’t had in a while? A proper bad movie night. Well, that’s what I could have answered yesterday.
UN Kongologists Carl Nelson (Reason) and Jiro Nomra (Takadara) are exploring the waters near Kong’s home on Mondo Island (Skull Island’s post-rebrand nomenclature, I guess,) in a submarine, accompanied by ship’s nurse Susan Watson (Miller). Meanwhile, the diabolical Dr Who (Amamoto) is building a robot Kong based on research stolen from Nelson, bankrolled by a never-specified Asian state which is represented by rubbish secret agent Madame X (Hama, whose character is apparently also known as Madame Piranha), who want him to use the robot to dig up a vast quantity of Element X to kickstart their nuclear programme.
Directed by Armando Iannucci Starring Steve Buscemi, Simon Russell Beale, Olga Kurylenko, Rupert Friend, Jason Isaacs, Michael Palin, Andrea Riseborough, Jeffrey Tambor
In 1953, an angry letter from concert pianist Maria Yudina (Kurylenko) precipitates a seizure in Soviet leader Josef Stalin (Adrian Mcloughlin). His sudden incapacity and death leaves a vacuum at the top of the party, with reformer Nikita Khrushchev (Buscemi) and secret police chief Lavrentiy Beria (Beale) courting favour with his deputy Georgy Malenkov (Tambor), and his most popular child, Svetlana (Riseborough).
Directed by Jayson Thiessen Starring Uzo Aduba, Ashleigh Ball, Emily Blunt, Kristin Chenoweth, Taye Diggs, Andrea Libman, Michael Peña, Zoe Saldana, Liev Schreiber, Sia, Tabitha St. Germain, Tara Strong, Cathy Weseluck
As Equestria prepares for its first Friendship Festival, under the guiding hoof of Princess Twilight Sparkle (Strong), all are united in Harmony; until the Fire Nation Storm King’s armada attacks unexpectedly, capturing the Princesses Celestia(Nicole Oliver), Luna (St. Germain) and Cadence (Britt McKillip). Twilight and her friends – Applejack and Rainbow Dash (Ball), Pinkie Pie and Fluttershy (Libman), Rarity (St Germain), and Spike the Dragon (Weseluck) – barely escape from Commander Tempest (Blunt), a unicorn with a broken horn, and her hapless goon Grubber (Pena), with only a partial instruction from Celestia to go south and seek the Queen of the Hippos.
Directed by Denis Villeneuve Starring Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Ana de Armas, Sylvia Hoeks, Robin Wright, Mackenzie Davis, Carla Juri, Lennie James, Dave Bautista, Jared Leto
1984’s Blade Runner was and is one of the seminal works of cinematic science fiction. It secured the place of Ridley Scott in the roster of great directors, whatever missteps he might take in the future, and alongside fellow class of 84 alumnus Neuromancer it shaped the genre that became known as cyberpunk.
The Late Sequel
In 2049, Replicants are made by a new company in an even larger and more opulent pyramidal HQ than that of the Tyrell Corporation. Under the guidance of Niander Wallace (Leto), a new line of obedient Replicants has been produced, including K (Gosling), who works under LAPD Lieutenant Joshi (Wright) as a Blade Runner, retiring the remaining Nexus 8 Replicants who survived an unsuccessful rebellion in 2020.
Directed by Brian Fee Starring Owen Wilson, Cristela Alonzo, Chris Cooper, Armie Hammer, Larry the Cable Guy, Bonnie Hunt, Nathan Fillion, Lea DeLaria, Kerry Washington
Long-time Piston Cup champion Lightning McQueen (Wilson) is shocked out of his complacent rivalry with his contemporaries by the emergence of a ‘new breed of high-tech racer,’ spearheaded by the gifted, yet arrogant Jackson Storm (Hammer). Pushing his own performance past his limits, he has a serious accident and finds himself out of the rest of the season. Aiming for one last high season and backed by hubcap magnate Sterling (Fillion), he goes to work with hot shot trainer Cruz Ramirez (Alonzo) looking to exceed his previous limits.
Directed by Ridley Scott Starring Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, Edward James Olmos, Daryl Hannah and William Sanderson
In 2019 the world is largely abandoned, an industrial slum inhabited primarily by those who for reasons of genetic health can not emigrate to the offworld colonies, where humans live at ease while their needs are met by sophisticated androids known as ‘Replicants.’ Stronger, faster and tougher than humans, Replicants are banned on Earth, and those seeking to return are hunted down by specialist police officers, Blade Runners, who use an emotional response test called Voight-Kampf to identify Replicants, and then ‘retire’ them.
Directed by Matthew Vaughn Starring Colin Firth, Julianne Moore, Taron Egerton, Mark Strong, Halle Berry, Elton John, Channing Tatum, Jeff Bridges
Flush with recent successes, the Kingsman private intelligence service comes under fire from treacherous former recruit Charlie (Edward Holcroft) and his boss, Poppy Adams (Moore). Intent on expanding the power of her drugs empire, the Golden Circle, Adams launches a pre-emptive strike on Kingsman, killing all of its agents except for Eggsy (Egerton) and Merlin (Strong), the head of strategic services.