1960s 3D 5th Wave 60s 70s Culture 80s Cinema A Night of Horror AAustralian film Action Activism Adaptation Adelaide Film Festival Adventure Advocacy African American Age of Adaline AI albanian Alien Abduction alien covenant aliens Alpha alt-right altzheimers amazon American Amitabh Bachchan Animal Animation anime anthology Anti-vaxx Ari Gold Art Asia Pacific Screen Awards Asian Cinema Australian film AV Industry Avengers Bad Robot BDSM Beach Boys Berlinale BFG Bianca Biasi Big Hero 6 Biography Biopic Blade Runner Blake Lively Blockbuster B-Movies Bollywood Breast Cancer Brian Wilson Brisbane Bruce Willis Camille Keenan Canadian Cancer candyman Cannes cannibalism Cannon Films Cesars CGI Chapman To Character Actors Charlie Hunnam Charlize Theron Chemsex China Lion Chinese Chloe Grace Moretz Chris Hemsworth Chris Pratt Christchurch christian cinema christmas Christopher Nolan Classic Cinema Clint Eastwood Close Encounters Cloverfield Comedy Comic Book Coming-of-Age Concert Film Conor McGregor Conspiracy Controversy Crowd-sourced Cult Cure Dakota Johnson Dance Academy Dardennes Brothers darth vader Debut Deepika Padukone Depression Disaster Movies Disney Diversity Documentary doomsday Dr Moreau drama Dunkirk Dustin Clare Dystopic EL James eli roth Elizabeth Banks Entourage Environmental Epic Erotic Cinema Extra-terrestrial Extreme Sports faith-based Family Film Fantasy Father Daughter Feminism Fifty Shades of Grey Film Film Festival Flop Foreign found footage French Cinema Friendship Fusion Technology Gareth Edwards Gay Cinema Ghostbusters Ghosts Godzilla Golan Globus Gothic Graphic Novel green inferno Guardians of the Galaxy Guillermo del Toro Gun Control Hacker Hailee Steinfeld Han Solo Happiness

Entries in Marvel (2)



When Hollywood bean counters spin their 2017 analysis, the year will not end with the studio suits rolling on beds of cash. Relatively speaking, of course; as December winds down, US box office takings will be around US$12billion, down a ‘whopping’ 2.5% on the record setting 2016. So the question that the great movie minds of Los Angeles need to address is, “How do we make up the deficit, and then some?”

A glimpse at the 2018 studio slates suggests the answer is superheroes, sequels, remakes and cartoons. Big surprise. There is some visionary stuff in the mix, but the roster largely recalls the year gone by, when franchise entrants like Pirates of The Caribbean Dead Men Tell No Tales looked tired; star vehicles like The Mummy underperformed and reheated properties like Blade Runner failed to ignite. But let’s see what is on offer and keep our fingers-crossed…: 

8 ‘New’ Marvel Films: There is no escaping the Marvel movie tsunami; with one arriving on average every seven weeks, the comic book adventures of our favourite ageing heroes will be everywhere, all the time. Big Daddy is, of course, AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR (pictured, right), welcoming back sibling directors Joe and Anthony Russo (Captain America: Civil War, 2016). Also under the Disney/Marvel banner are Ryan Coogler’s BLACK PANTHER and Peyton Reed’s ANT MAN AND THE WASP. The last of the X-Men films produced by a pre-Disney consumed 20th Century Fox will arrive in the form of Josh Boone’s THE NEW MUTANTS and Simon Kinberg’s X-MEN: DARK PHOENIX. The most anticipated will be Fox’s DEADPOOL 2, with Atomic Blonde’s David Leitch at the helm after the unpleasant shunting of #1 director, Tim Miller. Sony Pictures have two left-field unknowns in the Marvel mix – Ruben Fleischer’s R-rated VENOM, starring Tom Hardy and Michelle Williams and the animated adventure SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE, from the filmmaking team of Peter Ramsey, Bob Persichetti, and Rodney Rothman.

The Next ‘A Star Wars Story' Film: Apparently, the set of SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY was a little…angsty. The directors hired for the job, Phil Lord and Chris Miller got the boot in mid-June, with only days left of principal photography; enter Hollywood journeyman Ron Howard to see it through (after recasting and four months of reshoots). Miller and Lord played nice in their press statements (“We're really proud of the work we did on the movie and we wish everybody the best,”) but the scoop is that the pair clashed badly with franchise overlord Kathleen Kennedy and veteran series scribe Lawrence Kasdan. Rumblings suggest some extra polish is still needed ahead of its worldwide premiere on May 23/24/25 (check local listings).   

Three Anticipated Animated Follow-ups: After an erratic start in the competitive but lucrative animation arena, Sony Pictures Animation are milking their sole cash-cow franchise again next year, with director Genndy Tartakovsky and star Adam Sandler returning for HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 3: SUMMER VACATION (pictured, right). Director Rich Moore and writer Phil Johnston, both hot off the Oscar-winning Zootopia, deliver fresh adventures for John C Reilly’s oafish charmer in RALPH BREAKS THE INTERNET: WRECK-IT RALPH 2. Towering above all animated entrants will be Brad Bird’s INCREDIBLES 2, a sequel 14 years in the making that reportedly picks up at the very moment the 2004 blockbuster concluded – the appearance of The Underminer (voiced by Pixar regular, John Ratzenberger).

Horror Lives Again!: After the record-breaking box office delivered by It, the sequel-generating momentum of The Conjuring films and the headline-grabbing breakout of Get Out, the horror genre is hot again. Serious studio dollars are behind such 2018 films as Adam Robitel's INSIDIOUS: THE LAST KEY; Brian Taylor's MOM AND DAD, with Nicholas Cage and Selma Blair; Julius Onah's GOD PARTICLE, a continuation of the Cloverfield mythology; Jason Clarke and Helen Mirren in WINCHESTER, from Australian brothers Michael and Peter Spierig; and, Steven Soderbergh's iPhone-shot UNSANE, with Claire Foy and Juno Temple. John Krasinski directs himself and wife Emily Blunt in A QUIET PLACE (pictured, right); Sylvain White's explores the new urban myth in his chiller SLENDER MAN; and, Cispian Mill's British horror-comedy SLAUGHTERHOUSE RULEZ, reunites funny guys Nick Frost and Simon Pegg. Michael Myers returns in David Gordon Green's reworking of HALLOWEEN, with original leading lady Jamie Lee Curtis. And very high on every horror fans watchlist is Luca Guadagnino's remake of Dario Argento's 1977 classic SUSPIRIA, to star Chloë Grace Moretz, Dakota Johnson, Mia Goth, and Tilda Swinton.

Remakes/Relaunches/Rehashes: Showbusiness 101 teaches that it is easier and cheaper to repackage and relaunch a known brand than to start from scratch. In 2018, new spins on old favourites will come in the form of THE PREDATOR, directed by writer and co-star of John McTiernan’s 1987 original, Shane Black; Oscar-winner Alicia Vikander turning her Oscar cache into paycheque heft with Roar Uthaug’s TOMB RAIDER; Kingsman star Taryn Edgerton stepping into the tights as the star of a ‘gritty new take’ on ROBIN HOOD, from director Otto Bathurst; Lady Gaga filling the shoes worn by Janet Gaynor, Judy Garland and Barbra Streisand before her in director and co-star Bradley Cooper’s A STAR IS BORN (pictured right); the return of Lisbeth Sander, this time in the shape of Claire Foy, for Don’t Breathe director Fede Alvarez’s franchise relaunch THE GIRL IN THE SPIDER’S WEB; and, Gary Ross’ all-female heist caper OCEAN'S EIGHT, with Cate Blanchett, Sandra Bullock and Rhiannon toplining.

Sequelitis: Despite the underperformance of such ‘sure things’ as Alien: Covenant, Blade Runner 2049, XXX The Return of Xander Cage and Trainspotting 2, the studios will still cite 2017 hits like Logan, Guardians of The Galaxy Vol. 2 and The Fate of The Furious as reason enough for a slew of new sequels. In 2018, filmic déjà vu comes in the form of Christopher McQuarrie’s M:I 6 - MISSION IMPOSSIBLE; David Yate’s FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE CRIMES OF GRINDEWALD; Wes Ball’s MAZE RUNNER: THE DEATH CURE; Steven S. DeKnight’s PACIFIC RIM UPRISING, starring Star Wars’ John Boyega; the conclusion to E.L. James’ saucy trilogy, FIFTY SHADES FREED, from director James Foley; JURASSIC PARK FALLEN KINGDOM (pictured, right), with A Monster Calls’ JA Bayona stepping in for shunned helmer (but credited screenwriter) Colin Trevorrow; showman Rob Marshall’s sequel to the family favourite, MARY POPPINS RETURNS, starring Emily Blunt; and, because the universe was screaming out for another instalment of ‘Karaoke; The Movie’, director Ol Parker’s MAMMA MIA: HERE WE GO AGAIN.

A Breath of Fresh Air: If you are desperate for something that threatens a hint of original thought or freshness of vision, you have these to look forward to. Steven Spielberg's virtual-reality adventure READY PLAYER ONE; Jason Momoa and Amber Heard in James Wan’s AQUAMAN, the only DC Comics property set for a 2018 release; Reese Witherspoon and Oprah Winfrey in Ava DuVernay’s YA publishing phenom adaptation, A WRINKLE IN TIME; Jon Turteltaub’s giant shark thriller MEG, with Jason Statham; Jennifer Lawrence reteaming with her Hunger Games’ director Francis Lawrence for RED SPARROW (pictured, right); Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson’s vidgame-inspired monster movie RAMPAGE, from Brad Peyton; the Robert Rodriguez directed sci-fier ALITA BATTLE ANGEL, from a James Cameron script; Anne Hathaway, replacing an on-the-slide Amy Schumer, in Alethea Jones’ BARBIE; Wes Anderson’s latest stop-motion fable, ISLE OF DOGS; Rachel McAdams and Jason Bateman playing for big, broad laughs in GAME NIGHT; the Neil Armstrong biopic FIRST MAN, reteaming Ryan Gosling with his La La Land director Damian Chazelle; and, MORTAL ENGINES, director Christian Rivers effects extravaganza, based on an adapted screenplay by the Lord of The Rings team of Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh and Phillippa Boyens.



Just how crowded is the film marketplace in 2015? In compiling this feature, Meet the Filmmakers had to cull the latest from James Bond; new films from Michael Mann, Guillermo del Toro, Robert Zemeckis and Quentin Tarantino; Pixar’s first theatrical title in two years; the final instalment of The Hunger Games franchise; and, Ah-nold’s return as The Terminator. As 2014 winds up, here are the 2015 films (with US release dates included) that are piquing our interest…

10. ANT-MAN (July 17)
News of Marvel’s latest was all the Internet could handle when director Edgar Wright (Hot Fuzz; Shaun of the Dead) announced his new film would be the comic giant’s niche cult-hero, Ant-Man (pictured, above). But when ‘creative differences’ led to his departure well into pre-production, fans braced themselves. The replacement – Hollywood journeyman Peyton Reed, best known for the cheerleader romp Bring It On; the star – Paul Rudd, a solid if safe choice who’ll be playing darker than his on-screen persona has ever allowed; ace in the hole – Michael Douglas, who stuck with the project despite the departure of Wright.
HIT/MISS – Guardians of the Galaxy gave Marvel Films the creative shot-in-the-arm it needed and if Ant-Man finds its own, fresh voice, expect big things. If it proves to be a ‘boardroom’ film, pandering to shareholders needs and playing safe, fans may revolt given the missed opportunity Edgar Wright’s departure represents.

9. PEANUTS (November 6)
The estate of the late Charles Shultz must be licking their lips now that the cartoonist’s iconic group of friends is getting the Hollywood 3D animation makeover. Charged with making 1950’s suburban kids relevant today is Steve Martino (the colourful, if a bit one-note, Horton Hears a Hoo!; the uninspiring Ice Age: Continental Drift). The comic strip ended a 50-year run in 2000, so the key under-10 demo will have to rely on Mum and Dad to upsell the backstory. The animation (as seen in the teaser trailer) finds an intriguing balance between old and new, but is it too cutesy in the Pixar era?
HIT/MISS – The potential for merchandising profits is too huge for 20th Century Fox to drop the ball here. They will make sure it connects.

In the can for over a year (it was originally slated as a summer 2014 release), Tomorrowland is Brad Bird’s latest, a filmmaker who has yet to put a directorial foot wrong (The Iron Giant; The Incredibles; Ratatouille; Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol). Despite its extended post-production period and high-profile leading man, George Clooney, the fact is very little is known about its plot; two teens create a device that can propel them through time and space in an instant, bringing them to the Utopian society of the title. Or something like that.
HIT/MISS – It’s Bird’s long-in-gestation passion project, and his instincts have been spot-on so far. Despite the difficulty Hollywood execs have selling a fresh idea and with the charming Clooney to woo the talk show circuit, it’s a hit.

7. MAD MAX: FURY ROAD (May 15)
Dr George Miller’s reboot of his own iconic creation, the ‘Road Warrior’ lone cop Max Rockatansky, has travelled its own long, bumpy highway to its May 2015 release. Originally aiming for a 2014 slot, industry buzz suggested that the post-production period was going to be immense. Seems Miller (pictured, right; on location with star Tom Hardy) shot logistically daunting and wildly spectacular stunt sequences yet neglected that other crucial element – a plot. Allegedly, the mantra during the shoot was “We’ll fix it in post.” On-set tension was also cited; reports hinted at bitterness between stars Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron.
HIT/MISS - Which will all mean nothing when Mad Max Fury Road opens to huge figures. It is yet another reboot, sure, but Max is an iconic film figure that crosses generational demographics. He will rule the early US summer landscape.

Never underestimate Spielberg, the most commercially successful filmmaker of all time. His most recent film was 2011 Lincoln, a 2½ hour historical drama that would take an extraordinary US$182million domestically. Prior to that, he broke new technological ground with The Adventures of Tintin and survived the worst reviews of his career to turn Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of The Crystal Skull into a blockbuster; even the noble failure War Horse took US$180million globally. In 2015, he reteams with Tom Hanks, with whom he has crafted some of his best late-career work (Saving Private Ryan, Catch Me If You Can and, yes, even the unfairly-derided The Terminal) for a Cold War thriller that recalls arguably his best film of the last decade, Munich (pictured, left; the star and director on-set).
HIT/MISS – Hit, of course, but skewing older and dependent upon critical raves to breakout. With Joel and Ethan Coen supplying the screenplay and Hanks’ resurgence in full swing after Captain Phillips and Saving Mr Banks, the October release date pins it as an Oscar contender. 

Spielberg again, but wearing his producer’s hat for this fourth trip to an island of the coast of Costa Rica. Is it a sequel? Is it a reboot? Whatever; that kind pre-release analysis will count for nought when this drops June 12 and becomes one of the biggest films of the year. The unknown factor is director Colin Trevorrow, who showed great skill with character chemistry and gentle fantasy in Safety Not Guaranteed, but has no runs on the board in the blockbuster, effects-heavy, summer tentpole stakes. Trump card – Chris Pratt, in his first action hero role since Guardians of the Galaxy. And new-look dinosaurs. And Spielberg.
HIT/MISS – Come on, really?

4. FIFTY SHADES OF GREY (February 13)
EL James’ literary phenomenon made the complexities of a BDSM relationship palatable and smoothly stylish to the masses. Converting that to the bigscreen will be a tricky task; no one is pretending these airport novels were Pulitzer-worthy, but they envisioned a world of intricate intimacies that built a big, passionate following. That could easily unravel when translated to a commercial film template (pictured, right; stars Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson). Perhaps fittingly, everything we’ve seen about the film to date – the young, pretty stars; the trailer; Beyonce’s contribution to the soundtrack – reeks of style over substance. Slotting the World Premiere for the prestige Berlinale suggests a high level of confidence in critic’s reaction, but that could backfire if the knives come out.
HIT/MISS – Will open huge, but word-of-mouth will be crucial. At best, it will set pulses racing and upscale audiences talking, ala 9½ Weeks or Fatal Attraction; at worst, it is this years Showgirls. Reports that multiplex audiences were giggling at the trailer is not a good sign; European filmgoers will probably wonder what all the fuss is about. Bret Easton Ellis (American Psycho; The Canyons) pitched hard for the gig, but studio types found his take too raw (read; commercially risky).

3. THE MARTIAN (November 25)
His output has grown erratic, but news of a ‘Ridley Scott sci-fi adventure’ still quickens the pulse (pictured, left). This adaptation of Andy Weir’s cult novel posits Matt Damon alone and trying to survive all Mars can throw at him until his rescue craft arrive. Big plusses are co-stars Jessica Chastain and Kate Mara (in for quite a year, with her Fantastic Four reboot also pending). Next up for Scott will be the Blade Runner sequel, so here’s hoping The Martian will be a return to form.
HIT/MISS – Dunno. Scott is having a rough trot, with Prometheus, The Councillor and Exodus Gods and Kings all earning blah notices and mid-range box office; the last movie that took us to the red planet was the infamous John Carter; big, ambitious sci-fi films like Interstellar and Gravity divide opinion (though, admittedly, rake in the bucks).

All the gang are back, this time to take on James Spader’s bad guy Ultron in writer/director Joss Whedon’s follow-up to his own 2012 box-office behemoth. Expect more of the same city-wrecking, hulk-smashing entertainment, as only Marvel can deliver (over and over again, it would seem). New cast members Elizabeth Olsen (as Scarlet Witch) and Aaron Taylor-Johnson (as Quicksilver) were hot when cast, but their blah chemistry as husband-and-wife in Godzilla may see them pushed into the background in all key art (Johnson is nowhere to be found in the latest trailer).
HIT/MISS – Early footage feels a little too much like those clunky, grinding Transformer films and the wheels will fall off this whole Marvel superhero tentpole trend eventually. But not in 2015 - this is a certifiable blockbuster.

The teaser trailer broke the web, with 20million YouTube views on its day of release. Director JJ Abrams, a Star Wars devotee, further appeased fans by bringing in veteran scriptwriter Lawrence Kasdan, the man who penned The Empire Strikes Back. Casting news, whether new players (Daisy Ridley, Oscar nominee Oscar Isaacs, Adam Driver) or the return of old friends (Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill), ran across all media, fan-based or not. Word is that the plot takes place 30 years after the events of Return of the Jedi, but no details have been forthcoming.
HIT/MISS – Invincible against any and all outside influences. Critical reaction, box office competition, the unpredictability of the weather – The Force Awakens is the four-quadrant event film of 2015.