Category Archives: 31-40%

Peter Rabbit (2018)

“You think you know him? Well … think again!”

Directed by Will Gluck (Easy A)
Starring James Corden (Cats), Colin Moody, Margot Robbie (Sucicide Squad), Rose Byrne (Spy), Domhnall Gleeson (Star Wars: The Force Awakens), Sam Neill (Daybreakers), Daisy Ridley (Murder on the Orient Express) and Elizabeth Debicki (The Man from UNCLE)

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.

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Cats (2019)

“You Will Believe”

Directed by Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech)
Starring James Corden (Ocean’s 8), Laurie Davidson (The Good Liar), Judi Dench (Murder on the Orient Express), Jason Derulo, Idris Elba (Hobbs & Shaw), Robbie Fairchild, Jennifer Hudson (Sing), Stephen McCrae, Ian McKellen (The Da Vinci Code), Taylor Swift (Valentine’s Day), Rebel Wilson (Pitch Perfect 2) and Francesca Hayward

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).

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Jumanji: The Next Level (2019)

“Everything you know about Jumanji is about to change”

Directed by Jake Kasdan (Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle)
Starring Dwayne Johnson (Hobbs & Shaw), Jack Black (The House With a Clock in its Walls), Kevin Hart (The Secret Life of Pets 2), Karen Gillan (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2), Nick Jonas (Les Misérables: 25th Anniversary Concert), Awkwafina (Ocean’s 8), Rory McCann (Solomon Kane), Alex Wolff (My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2), Morgan Turner (Halal in the Family), Ser’Darius Blain (Bolden), Madison Iseman (Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween), Colin Hanks (Elvis & Nixon), Rhys Darby (Trolls), Danny Glover (Predator 2) and Danny DeVito (Twins)

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).

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Charlie’s Angels (2019)

“Sworn to secrecy, bound by sisterhood.”

Directed by Elizabeth Banks (Pitch Perfect 2)
Starring Kristen Stewart (Snow White and the Huntsman), Naomi Scott (Aladdin), Ella Balinska (Midsomer Murders), Elizabeth Banks, Djimon Hounsou (Shazam!, Constantine), Sam Claflin (The Lost Future), Noah Centineo and Patrick Stewart
(Logan)

The Original

Jaclyn Smith, Kate Jackson, Farrah Fawcett – the OG Angels

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.

Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz and Lucy Liu – New Angels

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).

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Last Christmas (2019)

“It’s a wonderful life”

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.

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Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (2019)

“Go Beyond the Fairy Tale”

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).

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Rebourne – Downton Abbey (2019)

“The Movie Event of the Year” – which is a bold claim in any year, never mind up against, say, the culmination of a twelve year superhero franchise

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

Six seasons…

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.

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Dora and the Lost City of Gold

“Explorer is her middle name”

Directed by James Bobin (Alice Through the Looking Glass)
Starring Isabela Moner (Transformers: The Last Knight), Eugenio Derbez (The Nutcracker and the Four Realms), Michael Pena (Ant-Man), Eva Longoria, Jeff Wahlberg, Danny Trejo (From Dusk Till Dawn) and Benicio del Toro (The Wolfman)

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.

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Rebourne: The Lion King (2019)

“Find your place in the circle of life.”

Directed by Jon Favreau
Starring Donald Glover, Seth Rogen, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Alfre Woodard, Billy Eichner, John Kani, John Oliver, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter and James Earl Jones

The Original

Touted at the time as Disney’s first original feature film, The Lion King was the fifth film in the Disney Renaissance, and the most successful offering of that period by a substantial margin, as well as playing a substantial role in the spread of major animation studios such as Dreamworks Animation. The film is a coming of age adventure, folowing young lion Simba (Matthew Broderick) as he grows up in exile and returns to face his wicked uncle Scar (Jeremy Irons) and avenge the murder of his father, Mufasa (James Earl Jones). It caught a storm of controversy over similarities to Kimba the White Lion, the English language dub of a Japanese anime film called Jungle Emperor Leo, but remains one of the iconic products of the House of Mouse.

The Remake

In 2019, The Lion King became the latest movie from the Disney back-catalogue to receive a ‘live-action’ remake, directed by the man who did the same to The Jungle Book. I use sarcastic quotes because, unlike the 2016 The Jungle Book, there is no human presence, and in fact what we have is almost – or perhaps actually – entirely computer animation.

Simba (JD McCrary) is the son of Mufasa (Jones) and Sarabi (Woodard), the King of the Pridelands and the leader of the lionesses who hunt for and defend the pride. While Mufasa and his adviser the hornbill Zazu (Oliver) try to guide Simba towards a positive model of altruistic monarchy, his brooding uncle Scar (Ejiofor) plots to seize power.

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THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS 2 (2019)

“They Still Have Their Secrets”

Directed by Chris Renauld
Starring Patton Oswalt, Eric Stonestreet, Kevin Hart, Jenny Slate, Tiffany Haddish, Lake Bell, Nick Kroll, Dana Carvey, Ellie Kemper, Chris Renaud, Hannibal Buress, Bobby Moynihan and Harrison Ford

Max (Oswalt) and Duke (Stonestreet) find their lives changed forever when their owner Katie (Kemper) marries and has a baby, Liam. Duke takes the changes in his stride, but Max becomes consumed by the fear of Liam getting hurt, so the family take a ride to visit relatives on a farm. Max leaves his beloved toy, Busy Bee, with Gidget (Slate), who manages to lose it in a cat lady’s apartment. Meanwhile, Daisy (Haddish) comes to Snowball (Hart) for help rescuing a white tiger from brutal circus owner Sergei (Kroll) and his pack of wolves.

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