A CIA agent (Washington, the character is never named, only refered to periodically as ‘the Protagonist’) extracts an undercover operative carrying a mysterious package – supposedly plutonium – during a terrorist attack on an opera house in Kiev. His life is saved by a mysterious man who seemingly sucks a bullet out of the stands through one of the terrorists, but is captured and uses a suicide pill. He recovers and is told the the pill was a test, and now he is part of a task force combating a world-ending threat, his only lead the word Tenet.
Directed by Kim Hagen Jensen and Tonni Zinck Starring Robyn Dempsey (I.T.), Emma Jenkins and Luke Griffin (Noble)
Minna (Dempsey) is a quirky hipster-child who lives with her dad and her hampster in the countryside, but her world is turned upside down by the arrival of her father’s girlfriend Helene, and Helene’s spoiled instagram kid daughter, Jenny (Jenkins). As her waking life becomes more stressful, she discovers the ability to leave her dreams for a steampunk staging area where dreams are created, and ignoring the warnings of her dream director, Gaff (Griffin), she begins visiting Jenny’s dream stage to try to manipulate Jenny’s waking personality.
Directed by Walt Dohrn Starring Anna Kendrick (Pitch Perfect 2), Justin Timberlake (In Time), Rachel Bloom (Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), James Corden (Ocean’s 8), Ron Funches (Trolls), Kelly Clarkson (Ugly Dolls), Anderson Paak, Sam Rockwell (JoJo Rabbit), George Clinton and Mary J. Blige (Rock of Ages)
Queen Barb (Bloom), the leader of the Hard Rock Trolls, sets out to take the magical strings which give the other Troll Tribes: Techno, Classical, Country, Funk and Pop. Queen Poppy (Kendrick) learns that the strings were once united, but were separated when the tribes split over what kind of music to play. Despite warnings from her father and her friend Branch (Timberlake), Poppy idealistically sets out to help Barb unite the tribes, accompanied by Branch and good-hearted manchild Biggie (Corden).
Peter Rabbit (Corden) live in the Lake District with his sisters, Flopsy (Robbie), Mopsy (Debicki) and Cottontail (Ridley), and their cousin Benjamin (Moody), raiding the garden of grumpy Mr MacGregor (Neill), who killed their father and wants to eat them in one or more pies, and enjoying the kindness of his neighbour Bea (Byrne), an artist and rabbit-lover who has been their surrogate mother since their own parents died. When MacGregor’s pursuit of Peter provokes a fatal heart attack, the rabbits claim the garden for their own, but a previously unknown great nephew, Thomas MacGregor (Gleeson) proves an obstacle.
Abandoned on the streets of London, white cat Victoria (Hayward) is found by the Jellicle cats, including Munkustrap (Fairchild) and wannabe conjurer Mister Mistoffeles (Davidson), and invited to the Jellicle Ball, where various Jellice Cats compete to be the Jellicle Choice and be allowed to ascend to the Heaviside Layer and begin a new Jellicle Life. Jennyanydots the Gumby Cat (Wilson), the Rum Tum Tugger (Derulo) and gourmand Bustopher Jones (Corden) sing ‘the song of themselves’ , only for Jennyanydots and Jones to be snatched by mystic criminal MacCavity (Elba).
Three years after their adventure in Jumanji, Bethany (Iseman), Fridge (Blain) and Martha (Turner) are planning a reunion during college winter break, but Spencer (Wolff) has fallen out of touch due to suffering from depression. Seeking him at home, the friends find Spencer’s Grandpa Eddie (DeVito) and his estranged friend Milo (Glover), before realising that Spencer has re-entered Jumanji. They follow to help him, with Martha once more becoming the character Ruby Roundhouse (Gillan), but Fridge becomes Shelley Oberon (Black), while Eddie and Milo in turn inhabit the heroic Dr Smolder Bravestone (Johnson) and his sidekick Mouse Finbar (Hart).
Once upon a time there was a godlike patriarchal figure who exercised an unhealthy level of power over the lives of three young women who were disenchanted with their ability to effect change as underutilised affirmative action hires in the official police force. Directed by the unseen Charlie and his assistant Bosley, these Angels got up top all manner of detective adventures; a bit like the A-Team, but with bigger hair (and first.)
The original series ran for five years, from 1976-1981, then all went quiet for nearly twenty years.
The series was picked up in 2000 with Charlie’s Angels and again in 2003 with Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle, which played hard on the sexy outfits and broad humour. They were notable for not being pitched as a reboot, but as a direct continuation of the original series. The original had already gone through several cast rosters – Jaclyn Smith’s Kelly Garrett, who had a cameo appearance in Full Throttle was the only constant – and so it was not a hard sell that Charlie had continued to employ a series of successive Angel teams. The films were a hard sell, however, and after Full Throttle turned an underwheming profit, the series came to a close for another sixteen years.
The Late Sequel
The Townsend Agency has expanded from a single team of Angels to a major international concern under the custodianship of John Bosley (Patrick Stewart), and is now guided by a council of ‘Bosleys’, a rank awarded to the handlers who manage and look after the teams of Angels. OG Bosley is given a send-off by his fellows, including Bosley (Banks) and Bosley (Hounsou), even as the agency finds a new client in whistle-blower Elena (Scott), an engineer being denied the chance to fix the potentially lethal bugs in a miracle power source she designed. Enter Bosley (Hounsou) and Angels Sabina (Stewart) and Jane (Balinska), on a mission first to aid Elena, and then to protect her from mystery assassin Hodak (Jonathan Tucker).
Directed by Paul Feig Starring Emilia Clarke, Henry Golding, Michelle Yeoh and Emma Thompson
Once a rising choral star in the former Yugoslavia, Kate (Clarke) is now an assistant in a year-round Christmas store in London, but her flaky behaviour and selfish pursuit of a musical career that she barely puts any effort into alienate her from friends, avoid her mother, Petra (Thompson), and lead her to let down her boss, Santa (Yeoh). When she meets the handsome, whimsical, big-hearted Tom (Golding), however, she begins to open up.
Directed by Joachim Rønning Starring Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning, Michelle Pfeiffer, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Sam Riley, Ed Skrein, Jenn Murray, Imelda Staunton, Juno Temple, Lesley Manville, Warwick Davis and Robert Lindsay
It’s been a few years since Maleficent (Jolie) cursed, then saved her de facto goddaughter Aurora (Fanning), did for her treacherous ex (Aurora’s father) and installed Aurora as Queen of the Moors and Unnamed Human Kingdom. Aurora has continued to see Prince Philip (Harris Dickinson), who proposes with the connivance of a popular matchmaking movement among the fey of the Moors, while also dealing with the problem of fey disappearing on the border with Ulstead, the neighbouring human kingdom ruled by Philip’s father, King John (Lindsay).
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.