Directed by Chris McKay Starring Will Arnett, Zach Galifianakis, Michael Cera, Rosario Dawson, Ralph Fiennes
In crime-ridden Gotham City, the Joker (Galifianakis) launches a devastating attack in concert with a vast assortment of other villains, only to be soundly (and rhythmically) defeated by Batman (Arnett). When Batman declines to acknowledge his greatest foe (because he doesn’t do ‘ships,) however, Joker concocts a plan of breathtaking audacity to take his nemesis down a peg or two.
Directed by David Lowery Starring Bryce Dallas Howard, Oakes Fegley, Wes Bentley, Karl Urban, Oona Laurence, Robert Redford
Pete’s Dragon is the tale of a young boy and his friendship with a magical dragon named Elliot, whose ability to become invisible makes most people assume he’s imaginary. Pete and Elliot stumble into a quaint little town, where Pete is taken in by the lighthouse keeper and his daughter, while being pursued by the violent redneck family who in some means purchased him and wish to assert their ownership. Meanwhile, Dr Terminus is in town, a quack doctor looking to go ‘legit’ by selling remedies made from slicing up Elliot. At the end, Pete has a family, and so Elliot goes off to help the next child in need, as magical friends in disney movies of the era were wont to do.
Both the child slavery angle and the threatened violent dismemberment of a sentient being are, of course, discussed through the medium of jaunty, upbeat singing. It’s not terrifying like, say, Darby O’Gill and the Littel People is terrifying, but it is weirdly dark given the tone of the songs, or possibly vice versa. In particular the cheery tune of the number ‘We Got a Bill of Sale Right Here’, and the fact that no one seems to question the Gogans’ claim to ‘own’ Pete on any sort of legal grounds, worries me.
70s Disney; it’s its own brand of messed up.
In 1977 a car crash kills a couple and strands their young son, Pete, in the forest. Six years later, Pete (Fegley) is living in the care of a displaced dragon he has named Elliot. As a logging operation moves into his home, he is spotted by Natalie (Laurence), the daughter of the foreman, Jack (Bentley), and soon after found by Jack and his fiancee Grace (Howard), a forest ranger. He is eager to get back to Elliot, but his discovery has already led Jack’s brother Gavin (Urban) to find Elliot.
“For Howard, things are about to get R’lyeh crazy.”
Directed by Sean Patrick O’Reilly Starring Christopher Plummer, Ron Perlman, Jane Curtin, Sean Patrick O’Reilly and Kiefer O’Reilly
Howard Lovecraft (Kiefer O’Reilly) is a melancholy boy, troubled by his father’s descent into madness, which has left as his only caregiver a mother who thinks that taking a small child to visit his dangerously unstable father in an Arkhamesque asylum (it may in fact be the original Arkham Asylum) run by dodgy occultist snarkmeister Dr West (Plummer) is a grand plan. Likewise replacing a bedtime story with just handing him his father’s journal of increasingly deranged scribblings to read as he goes to sleep.
Directed by Matteo Garrone Starring Salma Hayek, Vincent Cassel, Toby Jones and John C. Reilly
Once upon a time, there was a Queen (Hayek) who could not bear a child. At the advice of a necromancer, the Queen’s husband (Reilly) slays a sea monster. The King is also killed, but the Queen eats the heart of the monster and is instantly pregnant. She and the virgin kitchen maid who cooks the heart give birth to identical boys even before the King’s funeral, attended by two other monarchs: a King (Cassel) whose appetites know no restraint, and another King (Jones) with a beloved daughter.
“From flesh to steel. From blood to blade. From man…to Spawn.”
Directed by Mark A. Z. Dippe Starring Michael Jai White, Martin Sheen, Nicol Williamson and John Leguizamo
Al Simmons (White) is a top operative for A-6, a government deniable black ops group with huge fricking signs on their building, run by Jason Wynn (Sheen) and his pet psychopath Priest (Melinda Clarke). When he learns that A-6 is using him to run ops with heavy civilian casualties, Simmons announces his intention to retire and marry his fiancee Wanda (Theresa Randle).Unsurprisingly, Wynn and Priest murder him up a treat.
Directed by Henry Saine Starring Kyle Davis, Devin McGinn, Gregg Lawrence and Barak Hardley
This isn’t based on a specific Lovecraft story, although its main source of inspiration is obviously “The Call of Cthulhu,” written in 1926 and published in 1928.
When cultists of Cthulhu discover one part of a two-part relic that will release their god from his undersea prison, the mysterious Council — a bunch of bearded goodies — decide that the only person who can keep their half of the relic safe until danger passes is the last living descendant of H.P. Lovecraft himself. Unfortunately for them, that descendant is aimless slacker Jeff Phillips. With the relic in hand, Jeff and his best friend Charlie go on the lam, picking up nerdy Cthulhu expert Paul along the way and aiming to meet up with grizzled old sea captain Olaf, who apparently knows something about fighting Cthulhu. Hot in pursuit are Cthulhu’s number-one guy, Starspawn, and his army of Deep Ones. Well, there are like two or three of them. His squad of Deep Ones. Yadda yadda final battle, yadda yadda dynamite, yadda yadda new life as professional adventurers, the end.
Directed by Guillermo del Toro Starring Charlie Hunnam, Rinko Kikuchi and Idris Elba
When huge monsters known as Kaiju emerge from an interdimensional rift in the floor of the Pacific Ocean, humanity unites to create a defence; colossal battle mechs called Jaegers, whose pilots become the new rock stars.
Directed by Pierre Coffin and Kyle Balda Starring Pierre Coffin, Sandra Bullock and Jon Hamm
After a potted history of the evolution of the Minion species and the tribe’s service to history’s greatest monsters, from T. rex to Napoleon, the Minions find themselves at a loose end, living an idyllic but apathetic life in an icy cave. Only Kevin (Coffin, who voices all of the Minions), the ‘smart’ one, has the notion to seek a new ‘big boss’, taking Stuart, the artist, and Bob, the innocent, with him.
Directed by Stuart Gordon
Starring Ezra Godden and Francisco Rabal
This film is based less loosely than many on ‘The Shadow Over Innsmouth’, in which a posh backpacker comes to the deserted town of Innsmouth, encounters the town drunk and hears a tale of dark trades and (gasp) miscegenation with fish people, then finds himself trapped overnight and pursued by shambling foes.
Directed by Colin Trevorrow Starring Bryce Dallas Howard, Chris Pratt, Vincent D’Onofrio, Nick Robinson and Ty Simpkins
Zach (Robinson) and Gray (Simpkins) Mitchell are sent by their parents to visit Jurassic World, the fully functioning dinosaur theme park on Isla Nublar, to distract them from their parents’ divorce. Their aunt Claire Dearing (Howard? Dallas Howard?) is the career-oriented manager of Jurassic World, juggling the titanic egos of InGen rep Hoskins (D’Onofrio), CEO Simon Masrani (Irrfan Khan), chief geneticist Henry Wu (BD Wong), and raptor wrangler Owen Grady (Pratt) and the expectations of sponsors and holiday makers who want bigger and badder thrills.