Clown-for-hire and aspiring stand-up Arthur Fleck (Phoenix) lives with his mother, Penny (Conroy), but feels ignored by the world. Deeply troubled, but with his mental health support withdrawn due to budget cuts, his comedy unremarked and his efforts as a clown met with scorn and violence, he falls into a scenario where he ends up shooting three bullying rich kids on the subway. Finding solace in a new relationship with his neighbour, Sophie (Beetz), he begins to revel in his notoriety as the ‘clown killer.’
Directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett Starring Samara Weaving (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri), Adam Brody (Shazam!), Mark O’Brien (Bad Times at the El Royale), Henry Czerny (The A-Team), Andie MacDowell (Four Weddings and a Funeral), Nicky Guadagni (Silent Hill), Melanie Scrofano (Robocop), Elyse Levesque (Slumber Party Slaughter), Kristian Bruun (The Space Between) and John Ralston (On the Basis of Sex)
Grace (Weaving) is anxious about her marriage into the wealthy and eccentric Le Domas family, but very much in love with Alex (O’Brien), the youngest of the Le Domas. At the family estate, the two are married in front of Alex’s parents, Tony (Czerny) and Becky (MacDowell), brother Daniel (Brody), sister-in-law Charity (Levesque) and aunt Helene (Guadagni). All but Helene seem welcoming, as do Alex’s sister Emilie (Scrofano) and her husband Fitch (Bruun), who arrive just in time for the family’s traditional wedding night ritual, in which a new addition to the family must draw a card from a box and play a game. Grace’s game is hide and seek, however, which it turns out transforms the eccentric custom into a deadly game of cat and mouse in which the family hunt down the unsuspecting spouse and sacrifice them to their patron, Mr La Bail, for continuing wealth and life.
Following a series of disasters caused by an energy surge from space, astronaut Major Roy McBride (Pitt) is assigned to travel to Mars and try to contact his father, Clifford (Jones), whose research mission to Neptune in search of extraterrestrial life may be the source of the ongoing surges.
Directed by Michael Engler Starring Hugh Bonneville, Elizabeth McGovern, Michelle Dockery, Laura Carmichael, Maggie Smith, Penelope Wilton, Allen Leech, Jim Carter, Robert James-Collier, Phyllis Logan, Brendan Coyle, Joanne Froggatt, Lesley Nichol, Kevin Doyle, Sophie McShera, Raquel Cassidy, Michael C. Fox, Matthew Goode, Harry Hadden-Paton, Geraldine James, Simon Jones, Max Brown, Tuppence Middleton, Stephen Campbell-Moore, David Haig and Imelda Staunton
Downton Abbey was a wildly successful and critically-acclaimed British period drama, created by Julian Fellowes and following the fortunes of the family of the Crawley family, hereditary Earls of Grantham, and their domestic staff between 1912 and 1925, somewhat in the style of the earlier hit Upstairs, Downstairs. The current Earl, Robert Crawley (Bonneville), and his wife Cora (McGovern) – an American heiress – had three daughters – Mary (Dockery), the fabulous one, Edith (Carmichael), the plain one, and Sybil (Jessica Brown Findlay), the socially conscious one – and no sons, leading to the co-option into the family of heir presumptive Matthew (Dan Stevens), an upper-middle class solicitor and his mother, Isobel (Wilton). After much humming and hahing and a World War, Mary married Matthew. Sibyl married the Irish Republican chauffeur, Tom (Leech), while Edith had a series of desperately tragic romances. Sibyl and Matthew both died in childbirth (men can do this in Downton, as a result of what I assume to be a family curse which means that every time a baby is born, someone dies,) and Mary later married the dashing Henry Talbot (Goode) after a series of flings, and Edith finally got her happy ending with Bertie Pelham (Hadden-Paton), Marquess of Hexham.
Below stairs, the Butler Carson (Carter) and housekeeper Mrs Hughes (Logan) ran herd on a rotating staff of footmen and maids, including slowly-reforming bastard and future under-butler Barrow (James-Collier) and nice new boy Andy (Fox), older footman Moseley (Doyle) and maid Baxter (Cassidy), will-they-won’t-they personal servants Bates (Coyle), Grantham’s valet, and Anna (Froggatt), Lady Mary’s maid, and the cook Mrs Patmore (Nicol) and her long-suffering, socially-ambitious kitchen maid Daisy (McShera). Bates and Anna got married after being the dumping ground for about 70% of the Abbey’s melodrama (and a rape subplot, because that was apparently necessary,) and Barrow became Butler when Carson retired due to ill-health.
By the final Christmas special, all ended happily, and all under the gimlet gaze of Violet, the Dowager Countess of Grantham (Smith), she of the acid tongue and the silent ‘bitch’.
…and a movie
Flash forward a mere four years, and they made a movie, at which point half the country went absolutely mad for fear that their favourite happy ending would be scotched, that Barrow would revert to type, or that Edith would be plunged back into the misery she was left in when her past fiance left her pregnant after being murdered by the SA in the Beer Hall Putsch.
Directed by Ric Roman Waugh Starring Gerard Butler (Gods of Egypt), Morgan Freeman (Lucy), Jada Pinkett Smith (The Matrix Reloaded), Lance Reddick (John Wick), Tim Blake Nelson (Fantastic Four), Piper Perabo (Beverly Hills Chihuahua), Nick Nolte (The Spiderwick Chronicles) and Danny Huston (Wonder Woman)
Struggling with the health impact of too many action blockbusters, Secret Service Agent Mike Banning (Butler) is faced with the possibility of a desk job and more time with his wife Leah (Perabo) and daughter, while his old army buddy Wade Jennings (Huston) is struggling to make ends meet with the US government no longer employing his PMC and totally not planning to betray his old buddy.
In the reasonably distant future of 2029, the AI Skynet sent two Terminators back in time to eliminate resistance leader John Connor. One was sent to 1984, to kill John’s mother and mentor, Sarah Connor (Hamilton), before he could even be born; the second was sent to kill the young John Connor (Furlong) in 1995, if the first should fail.
“In the Year of Darkness, 2029, the rulers of this planet devised the ultimate plan. They would reshape the Future by changing the Past. The plan required something that felt no pity. No pain. No fear. Something unstoppable. They created ‘THE TERMINATOR’“
Directed by James Cameron Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger (Conan the Barbarian, Terminator: Genisys), Michael Biehn (Abyss), Linda Hamilton (Terminator 2: Judgement Day), Paul Winfield and Lance Henriksen (seriously, have I really not reviewed a single movie with Lance Henriksen in?)
In the unimaginably far-flung future of 2029, with humanity on the verge of victory against a remorseless, mechanical foe, the Machines send an assassin back in time to destroy the leader of the human resistance. That leader is the unborn son of LA waitress Sarah Connor (Hamilton), and the assassin is the unrelenting engine of death known as the Terminator (Schwarzenegger).
Ten years after her cousin and childhood BFF Diego (Wahlberg) travels to the city with his family, Dora (Moner) is sent to join him by her mother (Longoria) and father (Pena) when they set out to realise their long search for Parapatta, an Incan city filled with gold.
Nigh-unstoppable super-soldier Brixton (Elba) and his magical motorbike interrupt an MI6 mission in the heart of London to try to steal a supervirus, killing all of the agents bar one (Kirby), who escapes after injecting the virus into herself in slowly-dissolving plot-delivery devices, but is framed as the thief. The CIA tap DSS Agent Luke Hobbs (Johnson) and rogue former MI6 operative Deckard Shaw (Statham) to retrieve the virus, and the surviving agent, who is revealed to be Shaw’s sister Hattie.
“An evil army to fight, a demon to slay, a world to save. No pressure.”
Directed by Joe Cornish Starring Louis Ashbourne Serkis, Dean Chaumoo, Tom Taylor, Rhianna Doris, Rebecca Ferguson, Angus Imrie and Patrick Stewart
Alex (Serkis) is a twelve year old boy, struggling alongside his friend Bedders (Chaumoo) with school bullies Lance (Taylor) and Kaye (Doris). Chased onto a building site, he discovers a sword in a block of concrete, thus becoming rightwise king of England. Soon, a new boy arrives and explains that he is Merlin (Imrie, or sometimes Stewart), and that Alex needs to rally his forces against the undead armies of the long-bound sorceress Morgana (Ferguson).