Directed by David Leitch Starring Ryan Reynolds, Josh Brolin, Morena Baccarin, Julian Dennison, Zazie Beetz, T.J. Miller, Brianna Hildebrand, Shioli Kutsuna and Jack Kesy
Wade Wilson (Reynolds) – aka Deadpool – is living the dream, killing bad guys for cash and living it up with his girlfriend Vanessa (Baccarin). Everything else is spoilers, so let’s put the breakline in here.
Directed by Joe Wright Starring Levi Miller, Hugh Jackman, Garrett Hedlund, Rooney Mara, Adeel Akhtar, Kathy Burke, Nonso Anozie and Amanda Seyfried
Okay, so first up, this movie has already been reviewed by Skerryflower, so I’m not going to go into detail about the opening sections. However, I think the movie broke her about twenty minutes in, so…
After the establishing sections in the London Blitz, Peter is kidnapped along with a large number of other children by pirates in a flying galleon, who whisk them through some sort of vortex to Neverland, where they are greeted by a freeform, acapella rendition of ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ performed by Blackbeard (Jackman) and his child slaves, who mined Neverland for ‘pixum’ (like fairy dust, but mined as crystals,) which Blackbeard uses to stay young.
Avengers Infinity War is a film with a lot of hype to live up to. The nineteenth entry in the almost-exactly ten year history of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it reunites almost every major character from the previous films – there are four or five significant absences and a few minor ones – in a two and a half hour extravaganza. The clash with super-supervillain Thanos has been built up since the stinger of The Avengers (2012), while the Infinity Stones which form the driving force of the plot have been around since Captain America (2011) and were first named in Thor The Dark World (2013).
Against my usual custom, I’m not going straight into a full review. As with Arrival, I feel that this is a film significantly the better for going in without spoilers, so I’ll do the spoiler-filled analysis at a later date.
Directed by Steven Spielberg Starring Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Ben Mendelsohn, Lena Thwaite, Philip Zhao, Win Morisaki, T.J. Miller, Simon Pegg, Mark Rylance and Hannah John-Kamen
In 2045, with much of the world in the proverbial toilet, vast swathes of the population spend their lives in the OASIS, a vast, persistent virtual reality universe. On his death, the creator of the OASIS, James Halliday (Rylance), set a challenge: The person who discovered three keys and clues leading to an Easter egg in the OASIS would inherit his personal estate and complete control of the system. Some years later, the search for the Egg is contested between freelance ‘Gunters’ like Wade Watts (Sheridan), known in the OASIS as Parzival, and his friend Aech (Thwaite), and the ‘Sixers’, almost literally faceless corporate goons employed by IOI, a company keen to monetise the OASIS, which they already use as an indentured labour camp for debtors.
Directed by Ava Duvernay Starring Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Michael Peña, Storm Reid, Zach Galifianakis, Chris Pine
Meg Murray (Reid) isn’t having a good time of it. It’s been four years since her father (Pine) disappeared, leaving Meg, her mother (Mbatha-Raw), and her newly adopted, infant brother Charles Wallace (Deric McCabe) to the whispers and rumours of neighbours and schoolmates, as well as their own doubts. Then Charles Wallace brings the stranges ‘Missuses’ into their lives, and ‘recruits’ Calvin (Levi Miller), a popular kid with a bit of a crush on Meg, to join them on a mission to rescue their father.
Directed by Roar Uthaug Starring Alicia Vikander, Dominic West, Walton Goggins, Daniel Wu and Kristin Scott Thomas
Following the disappearance of Lord Richard Croft (West), his daughter Lara (Vikander) scrapes a living as a bike courier, since claiming her inheritance would involve legally recognising his death. Given a puzzle box by his lawyer (a wasted Derek Jacobi), she follows a trail of clues to a secret room under the family crypt, and a message from her father. After her mother’s death, he went all Arthur Conan Doyle and searched the world for evidence of the supernatural and life after death, leading at last to the Mother of Deaths.
Directed by Ryan Coogler Starring Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya, Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, Andy Serkis
The African nation Wakanda is a super-advanced, technological power which masquerades as a Third World nation to avoid international attention, while imbedding spies in other countries. Some establishing scenes explain that four tribes founded the nation, while a fifth – the Jabari – opted out of the rule of the Black Panther, a warrior empowered by a ‘heart-shaped herb’ which, like much in Wakanda, was itself transformed by the arrival on Earth of a meteorite of the alien metal vibranium. We also see the former king, T’Chaka (Atandwa Kani, whose father John Kani plays the older T’Chaka in Captain America: Civil War) coming to America to retrieve his brother N’Jobu, who sold out the country’s secrets to fund some nebulous criminal activity.
Directed by Wes Ball Starring Dylan O’Brien, Kaya Scodelario, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Dexter Darden, Giancarlo Esposito, Aidan Gillen, Walton Goggins, Ki Hong Lee, Barry Pepper, Will Poulter, Patricia Clarkson and Rosa Salazar
Following Teresa’s (Scodelario) betrayal in The Scorch Trials, Thomas (O’Brien) and Newt (Brodie-Sangster) are intent on rescuing their comrade Minho (Lee), with the help of survivalists Jorge (Esposito) and Brenda (Salazar) and revolutionary Vince (Pepper). WCKD are determined to hold onto Minho, however, as Teresa and her mentor Ava (Clarkson) believe that his blood holds the key to a cure which could save the Last City from the Flare virus.
“A universe without boundaries needs heroes without limits.”
Directed by Luc Besson Starring Dane DeHaan, Cara Delevingne, Clive Owen, Rihanna, Ethan Hawke, Herbie Hancock, Kris Wu, Rutger Hauer
A paradisiacal world of blue-skinned, pearl-fishing humanoids is destroyed by a rain of destroyed spaceships, but their princess is able to send a telepathic message which reaches Valerian (DeHaan), a happy-go-lucky agent of the United Human Federation with serious boundary issues, as seen in his relationship with his professional partner Laureline (Delevingne). He also appears to have some concentration problems, blowing an undercover op when two of the blue people show up while he is retrieving a Mul converter – an organism which replicates matter, and was native to the planet he dreamed he saw destroyed – from a black market trader.
Directed by Kenneth Branagh Starring Kenneth Branagh, Penélope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, Judi Dench, Johnny Depp, Josh Gad, Derek Jacobi, Leslie Odom Jr., Michelle Pfeiffer, Daisy Ridley, Marwan Kenzari, Olivia Colman, Lucy Boynton, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Sergei Polunin and Tom Bateman
Spoiler warning: While this is a brand new murder mystery film at the time of writing, the source which it follows is decades old and one of the most famous whodunnits of the golden age. I will therefore be discussing the solution, at least in passing.
After solving a tricky problem in Jerusalem by shamelessly abusing the Wailing Wall, world famous Belgian detective Hercule Poirot (Branagh) and his fabulous moustaches are summoned to assist with a tricky case in London. A friend in the company, unapologetic hedonist Bouc (Bateman) gets him a berth on the overbooked Orient Express from Istanbul, alongside an eclectic bunch of travelers. On the first day of travel, he is approached by Mr Ratchett (Depp), a shady American antique dealer, who wants to hire him to watch for his enemies, but refuses. That night, the train is caught in an avalanche and derailed, and Ratchett is murdered.