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 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 Edgar Wright Starring Ansel Elgort, Kevin Spacey, Lily James, Eiza Gonzalez, Jon Hamm and Jamie Foxx
Baby (Elgort) is a crack getaway driver, working for a fixer known as Doc (Spacey), after stealing Doc’s car as a tearway youth. With his debt almost paid up, he is looking forward to hitting the straight and narrow, especially when he meets waitress Debora (James), who shares his love of music and driving.
Directed by Jon Watts Starring Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Jon Favreau, Zendaya, Donald Glover, Tyne Daly, Marisa Tomei, Robert Downey Jr.
After his debut in Civil War, Peter Parker (Holland), aka Spider-Man, is keen to get his teeth into superheroing. With Tony Stark (Downey) keeping him at arm’s length from the Avengers, he fights local crime while reporting to Happy Hogan (Favreau) and cutting back on his extra-curricular activities – including academic decathlon with love interest Liz (Laura Harrier), best mate Ned (Jacob Batalon), jerk jock (in as much as a tech academy has jocks) Flash Thompson (Tony Revolori) and girl of mystery Michelle (Zendaya) – in preparation for his next mission.
Directed by Dan Trachtenberg Starring John Goodman, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and John Gallagher Jr.
Following an argument, Michelle (Winstead) leaves her home – in an opening scene clearly derived from Psycho – and drives through rural Louisiana, where her car is hit and pushed off the road. She wakes up, chained to a wall in a bunker belonging to Howard (Goodman), a prepper who tells her he saved her life from an attack by party or parties unknown which has left the world’s air contaminated. The two of them and Emmett (Gallagher), a young man who helped Howard to construct their shelter, are sealed into the bunker to wait out the worst.
Directed by James Gunn Starring Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Elizabeth Debicki, Chris Sullivan, Sean Gunn, Sylvester Stallone, Kurt Russell and David Hasselhoff
As always, the following review will not be spoiler free.
After an introduction set in 1980, introducing us to Peter’s mother and father (Russell) in happier times, celebrating their love and introducing alien species to an unprepared ecosystem, we flash forward to the Guardians doing a job for the Sovereign, a gold-skinned race of genetically engineered superbeings, in return for Gamora’s (Saldana) sister Nebula (Gillan). When Rocket (Cooper) angers the Sovereign, however, their High Priestess (Debicki) first sends ships after the Guardians, then hires Yondu (Rooker) and his Ravagers to pursue them.
As before, a handsome prince is cursed for being a world-class jerk and transformed into a Beast (Stevens) until and unless he can find and share true love, while his staff are turned into furniture. The time frame is unspecific, but the curse also removes the castle and its inhabitants from the memory of the outside world, in particular of the little town that supports it, to which years later a girl named Belle (Watson) and her father Maurice (Kline) move after the loss of her mother.
Directed by Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise Starring Paige O’Hara, Robby Benson, Richard White, Rex Everhart, Jesse Corti, Jerry Orbach, Jo Anne Worley, Bradley Michael Pierce, David Ogden Stiers, Angela Lansbury
A spoiled prince disrespects a beggar woman, who reveals herself as a beautiful enchantress pulling shenanigans and turns him into a Beast, so to remain unless he can find and share true love before his twenty-first year. Ten years later, in a nearby provincial town that is entirely ignorant of the existence of said prince, his family and his castle, we meet Belle (O’Hara), a high-minded, intellectual dreamer who isn’t like all the other girls. She is pursued by local bravo Gaston (White), but uninterested in a life in the village, remaining largely to protect her ageing and eccentric father, Maurice (Everhart).
Directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts Starring Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L Jackson, John Goodman, Brie Larson, Jing Tian, Toby Kebbell, John Ortiz, Corey Hawkins, Jason Mitchell, Shea Whigham, Thomas Mann, Terry Notary, John C. Reilly
1933’s King Kong was a black and white movie about a movie crew looking for a lost island, finding a giant ape which is in no way a grotesque caricature of a black man. The ape, Kong, falls in love with the starlet – on some level or other – and the crew catch him, then bring him back to New York, where he escapes and is shot from the top of the Empire State Building by biplanes. It was remade in a contemporary setting in 1976, and again in its original era in 2005 by Peter Jackson. In 1962 Kong was added to the Toho studios kaiju universe in Godzilla vs. King Kong.
The Latest Remake
During WWII, American and Japanese pilots crash land on an island where their attempts to kill one another are interrupted by the appearance of a giant gorilla. In 1974 the island is picked up on satellite imagery. Bill Randa (Goodman), biologist San Lin (Jing) and geologist Houston Brooks (Hawkins) of Monarch tag along with a Landsat survey team to look for monsters. They recruit a helicopter platoon on the way back from Vietnam, lead by Colonel Packard (Jackson) and professional tracker and ex-SAS badass Conrad (Hiddleston), while anti-war photographer Mason Wheeler (Larson) gets herself attached to the survey.
This may seem like a lot of characters, but wait; there’s more. Captain Chapman (Kebbell), a major heading home to his family; Landsat official, Nieves (Ortiz); and members of the platoon including Mills (Mitchell), Cole (Whigham), Slivko (Mann) and Reles (Eugene Cordero).
Directed by Damien Chazelle Starring Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, John Legend, Rosemarie DeWitt
In LA, a series of chance encounters bring struggling actress Mia (Stone) and struggling Jazz pianist Seb (Gosling) into a relationship of towering love and passion. He introduces her to jazz and drives her to follow her dreams. She tries to convince him that his dream is in reach, if he can only let of of its trappings, and inadvertently drives him to compromise his artistic integrity by joining a band led by the non-specifically shady Keith (Legend).