“1700 years to build. 5500 miles long. What were they trying to keep out?”
Directed by Zhang Yimou Starring Matt Damon, Jing Tian, Pedro Pascal, Willem Dafoe, Andy Lau
In the 11th century, a band of mercenaries including the English (Irish? I’m not sure what he’s going for) William (Damon) and the Spanish (they keep referring to Spain, despite being some centuries before the formation of said Kingdom) Tovar (Pascal), is whittled down by bandits and finally all but the last two are killed by a beast which William kills, cutting off its clawed and scaled arm. Fleeing bandit reinforcements, the pair are suddenly faced with the Great Wall and its defenders, the Nameless Order, who ponder the possibility of killing them until they learn that he slew a ‘Tao Tei’ single handed.
Directed by Eric Summer, Éric Warin Starring Elle Fanning, Dane DeHaan, Maddie Ziegler, Carly Rae Jepsen
The year is 1887 (or 1888; I’m working from how complete the Eiffel Tower is,) and plucky Bretton orphan Felicie (Fanning) dreams of being a dancer in the Parisian ballet. Running away from the orphanage in the company of fellow orphan, inventor and creepy nice guy Victor (DeHaan), she is promptly separated from her stalker, finds the opera and stumbles into a) helping the academy’s cleaner, Odette (Jepsen), and b) a place in the training class, the latter by stealing the identity of standard issue horrible rich brat Camille (Ziegler).
Directed by Kevin Munroe Starring Paul Giamatti, John Goodman, Bella Thorne, Rosario Dawson, Jim Ward, James Arnold Taylor, David Kaye, Sylvester Stallone
When the villainous Chairman Drek (Giamatti) and his Blarg start destroying planets, the Galactic Rangers announce that they are upping their numbers… to five. Ratchet (Taylor) is a young mechanic who dreams of joining the corps. Their leader, Captain Qwark (Ward), bounces him from the recruiting line, but when he partners up with a defective Blarg warbot named Clank (Kaye) they become heroes and are – reluctantly – accepted into the Rangers, alongside Qwark and his comrades, the quick one (Thorne), the techy one (Dawson) and the big one (Taylor).
Directed by Stephen Sommers Starring Treat Williams, Famke Janssen, Kevin J. O’Connor, Anthony Heald and Wes Studi
Boat pilot Finnegan (Williams) and his engineers Fantucci (O’Connor) and Leile (Una Damon) are hired by the sinister Hanover (Studi) to transport his team of goons to a mystery location in the middle of the ocean. They soon discover that their passengers are mercenary bandits, intent on robbing the colossal cruise liner Argonautica. Unfortunately, the liner has much worse problems.
Directed by David Yates Starring Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, Ezra Miller, Samantha Morton, Jon Voight, Carmen Ejogo and Colin Farrell
Harry Potter. Seriously, if you’ve been sufficiently living under a rock to not know, I can’t remotely do it justice here, but I will pencil in a massive rewatch and review sometime after I find the time for my Jackson-Tolkien extended editions marathon.
The important thing, vis a vis Rebourne, is that after seven books – made into eight movies, because the last book is always two movies – JK Rowling swore up and down that she was done with the boy wizard and off to writing grim and gritty detective fiction. And technically that still holds, as someone else wrote the script for the two-part stage play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and this film is actually a prequel without Harry or any of his immediate relatives (the nearest it gets is a photo of his godfather’s aunt.)
The Totally Unexpected Prequel
In 1926 the US magical establishment, headed by President Picquery (Ejogo), is in turmoil as a series of seemingly magical events, and the actions of dark wizard Gellert Grindlewald, threaten to reveal the magical world to the No-Maj (American for Muggle) community. Unto this came Newt Scamander (Redmayne), a hapless-looking chap with a suitcase full of magical beasts. A series of accidents lead to Scamander crossing paths first with No-Maj wannabe baker Jacob Kowalski (Fogler) and then with ex-Auror Tina Goldstein (Waterston), and his case being swapped for Kowalski’s.
* The poster with a tagline was quite small and hard to read – it seemed to spell this ‘furor’, so I guess it was intended as a play on ‘fuhrer’.
Directed by Susan Stroman Starring Nathan Lane, Matthew Broderick, Uma Thurman, Will Ferrell, Gary Beach, Roger Bart
A failing producer and an accountant team up to produce a deliberate flop, realising that they can make more money by overselling the show and failing than by having a hit which needs to repay its investors in the first and arguably the greatest film of Mel Brooks’ directorial career. When their deliriously tasteless bomb arrives, however, it crosses the line twice and becomes a runaway success, bringing about their downfall.
Before the new film version, the musical adaptation played on Broadway with much of the same cast.
Max Bialystock (Lane) is the falling star of Broadway, producer of flop after flop reduced to romancing little old ladies for funding. When public accountant Leo Bloom (Broderick) looks over his books, he realises that it should be possible to make more money with an oversold flop than a tightly funded hit.
Directed by Zach Lipocsky Starring Jesse Metcalfe, Meghan Ory, Virginia Madsen, Dennis Haysbert, Keegan Connor Tracy
Reporter Chase Carter (Metcalfe) and camerawoman Jordan (Tracy) are reporting on the evacuation of East Mission in the face of a resurgence of a zombie virus despite the use of a drug called Zombrex to control infection. When the Zombrex injections fail, panic breaks out and zombies run amok.
Directed by Joe Dante Starring Brendan Fraser, Jenna Elfman, Steve Martin, Timothy Dalton, Joan Cusack, Heather Locklear and Joe Alaskey (voices)
Following a contract dispute, Daffy Duck is fired from Warner Brothers. In the chaos that ensues, security guard and stuntman DJ (Fraser) is also fired. Daffy follows DJ to the home he shares with his father, action star Damien Drake (Dalton) where they discover that Damien is actually a real-life superspy using his movies as cover (which is of course now the background for Amazon pilot Jean-Claude Van Johnson.)
Directed by W.D. Richter Starring Peter Weller, Ellen Barkin, John Lithgow, Jeff Goldblum, Christopher Lloyd and Clancy Brown
During a test of his experimental supersonic jet car, Japanese-American neurosurgeon, particle physicist, martial artist and musician Buckaroo Banzai (Weller) activates the oscillation overthruster, a device which allows him to pass into the solid matter of a mountain, thus entering the 8th Dimension. On hearing of this, Lord John Whorfin, and alien in the body of Dr Emilio Lizardo (Lithgow) breaks out of an asylum to reunite with his lieutenants, the Red Lectroids.
Directed by Darren Aronofsky Starring Natalie Portman, Vincent Cassel, Mila Kunis, Barbara Hershey, Winona Ryder
Amid the fierce competition to secure the prized dual role of the Swan Queen and her double the Black Swan, soloist Nina Sayers (Portman) clashes with demanding auteur director Thomas (Cassel) and ambitious rising star Lily (Kunis), as well as her demanding and overprotective mother (Hershey) and unstable former principal Beth (Ryder).