With 'Logan' already topping US$435M at the global Box Office since its 3rd March release, this year there is planned a whole raft of Superhero entertainment to give us more reasons to return to your local movie theatre . . . if Superhero fare is your kinda thing of course, and, judging by global Box Office takings, it seems to be so for a large portion of the cinema going public. So pencil in your diary, here is quick summary of what you can still expect in the remaining nine months of this year, and when :-
* 'LOGAN' (Marvel) - released on 3rd March, and Reviewed at this Blog. Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart and Dafne Keen in this James Mangold tenth instalment in the 'X-Men' franchise, and the third stand alone Logan/Wolverine offering . . . and possibly the best!
* 'POWER RANGERS' - released on 23rd March. After 24 years, 24 television seasons and now three cinema released films, this teen Superhero film gets a reboot with the Red, Pink, Blue, Black and Yellow Power Rangers saving the world for a cool budget of US$105M.
* 'THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE' (DC) - released on 30th March and already having grossed US$276M and starring the voice talents of Will Arnett as Bruce Wayne/Batman and an impressive voice cast that includes Ralph Fiennes, Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, Zach Galifianakis, Eddie Izzard, Seth Green, Zoe Kravitz, Rosario Dawson amongst others.
* 'GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY : Vol. 2' (Marvel) - released on 25th April, and following hot on the heels of the first film from 2014 which took a staggering (and unexpected) US$776M, 'Volume 2' is once again Directed by James Gunn and sees this intergalactic action heroes reprise their roles - Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Vin Diesel, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, Michael Rooker, Glenn Close and introducing Kurt Russell and Sylvester Stallone too.
* 'WONDER WOMAN' (DC) - released on 1st June with Gal Gadot reprising her role as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman from last years 'Batman v. Superman' this is an origin story of how Princess Diana came to be Wonder Woman during her fight to bring WWI to an early end. Also starring Chris Pine, Ewen Bremner, David Thewlis, Connie Nielsen and Robin Wright. Directed by Patty Jenkins.
* 'TRANSFORMERS : THE LAST KNIGHT' - released on 22nd June, this will be the fifth instalment in the hugely successful Michael Bay Directed franchise that has seen Box Office receipts for the first four films top US$3.7B from combined US$755M production budgets. This fifth film sees Mark Wahlberg reprise his role as Cade Yaeger, with Stanley Tucci from 'Age of Extinction' with Josh Duhamel, John Turturro and Tyrese Gibson joining from the first three instalments with Anthony Hopkins making an appearance here too. 'Transformers 6' has already been announced for a mid-2019 release although not with Michael Bay Directing.
* 'SPIDERMAN : HOMECOMING' (Marvel) - released on 6th July, this Superhero is a real family favourite that has been through many live action iterations over the years. Most recently Sam Raimi's three films with Tobey Maguire as our web slinging young hero; then Director Marc Webb's two more recent follows up with Andrew Garfield; and now Tom Holland Directed by Jon Watts, that sees Spidey following up his outing form 'Captain America : Civil War' tutored by his mentor Tony Stark as he tries to balance his life as fifteen year old school kid with his life as a New York crime fighting Superhero. Michael Keaton also stars as new threat, Vulture.
* 'THOR : RAGNAROK' (Marvel) - released on 26th October, this is the third solo outing for 'Thor' as played by Chris Hemsworth that follows on from the events of 'Avengers : Age of Ultron'. Directed by Taika Waititi, the previous two films took US$1.05B making this seventeenth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe a sure bet. Bruce Banner/Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) reprises his role as does Stephen Strange/Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) in a cross over feature, with Loki, Odin, and Heimdall all making appearances again, with Cate Blanchett, Jeff Goldblum and Karl Urban adding to the cast.
* 'JUSTICE LEAGUE' (DC) - released on 16th November, this is the fifth film in the DC Extended Universe that follows on from the events of last years 'Batman v. Superman' that sees Bruce Wayne assemble a group of metahumans to thwart a potentially catastrophic enemy. Those Justice League conscripts are of course Batman (Ben Affleck), Superman (Henry Cavill), Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), Aquaman (Jason Momoa), The Flash (Ezra Miller) and Cyborg (Ray Fisher) who must fight Steppinwolf (Ciaran Hinds) and his extraterrestrial monstrous army the Parademons. Directed by Zack Snyder with Jesse Eisenberg, Jeremy Irons, Amy Adams, Willem Dafoe, Connie Nielsen, Diane Lane and J.K.Simmons also starring
Turning attention back to this week, there are five new film releases, all offering something completely different. We kick off with a little known but nonetheless landmark case in American history centering around an interracial marriage when it was illegal to do so. We then move to a psychological horror film set in the secluded mountains where this exclusive health spa retreat is not all it may seem; then we have a Sci-Fi romantic drama offering of a young human martian venturing back to Planet Earth to find his biological father, and falls in love in the process. Next up is an Aussie outback off road trip adventure, before wrapping up with an unlikely yet critically acclaimed Mongolian documentary film about a young girl and a bird of prey.
When you have sat through your film or films of choice in the coming week, be reminded to share your movie going thoughts, observations and musings with your fellow readers here at Odeon Online. Leave your relevant, constructive and succinct note in the Comments section below this or any other Post - we'd love to hear your views on your cinematic experience. In the meantime, enjoy your film.
'LOVING' (Rated PG) - this biographical romantic drama film was Directed and Written by Jeff Nichols and has gained much critical praise winning twenty-one awards and a further 84 nominations including Academy Award, Golden Globes and AACTA nods for the two principle leads. Made for US$9M, and since its release in the US back in early November and the UK in early February it has just about recovered that sum. Based on 2011 documentary 'The Loving Story' by Nancy Buirski which follows the Lovings and their landmark legal case. That case was 'Loving v. Virginia' of 1967, a civil rights decision of the United States Supreme Court, which invalidated laws prohibiting interracial marriage. The case was instigated by Mildred Loving, a black woman, and Richard Loving, a white man, who had been sentenced to a year in prison in Virginia for marrying each other. Their marriage violated the state's anti-miscegenation statute at the time, the Racial Integrity Act of 1924, which prohibited marriage between people classified as 'white' and people classified as 'coloured'. The Supreme Court's unanimous decision determined that this prohibition was unconstitutional, and ended all race based legal restrictions on marriage in the United States. Not surprisingly, the decision was followed by an increase in interracial marriages in the U.S., and is remembered annually on Loving Day, on June 12. Richard Loving died in a car accident in 1975, and Mildred Loving died in 2008. This is their story.
And so the films follows construction worker bricklayer Richard Loving (Golden Globe nominated Joel Edgerton) in Virginia who falls in love with a black woman and friend of the family Mildred Jeter (Academy Award nominated Ruth Negga). When Mildred falls pregnant they agree to marry, but knowing the interracial marriage is illegal in Virginia they travel to Washington D.C. where it is not. And so they marry and return to Virginia, where Richard is set to build a family home for them both within a mile from where Mildred grew up. It is 1958. Shortly afterwards, several Police Deputies converge on the Lovings to arrest them. When Richard shows them their marriage license, they are told that it holds no validity in Virginia and that they both face a year in jail. They plead guilty but the Judge shows some leniency as long as they do not return to Virginia together for another 25 years. Mildred writes in protest to Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, who points the couple in the direction of American Civil Liberties Union and a lawyer who takes up the case. Also starring Marton Csokas, Michael Shannon and Nick Kroll.
'A CURE FOR WELLNESS' (Rated MA15+) - this psychological horror offering is Directed by Gore Verbinski whose previous Directorial credits include three 'Pirates of the Caribbean' offerings, 'The Lone Ranger', the animated 'Rango', 'The Ring' and 'The Mexican' amongst others. Here as well as Directing, he also Co-Produces and came up with the storyline too about an ambitious young corporate executive type named Lockhart (Dane DeHaan) who is sent on a mission to retrieve the company's CEO from a seemingly idyllic yet mysterious wellness centre located in the remote Swiss Alps. The Board of Directors back at the Company have an ulterior motive for wanting to retrieve their CEO, Roland Pembroke (Harry Groener). Upon Lockhart's arrival, he is met with some resistance from the staff, especially Dr. Heinreich Volmer (Jason Isaacs). In time, Lockhart who is forced to remain at the Centre due to a leg injury sustained in a car accident, meets up with another patient Hannah (Mia Goth) who drinks from a cobalt blue bottle a strange looking liquid, and then Victoria Watkins (Celia Imrie) who divulges things about the Centre's past and the former owner dating back some two hundred years. It seems that not everything is quite as it seems, as unspeakable horrors from the past and the present manifest themselves before Lockhart is able to return to the outside world . . . or does he?
'THE SPACE BETWEEN US' (Rated M) - here we have a romantic Sci-Fi adventure story as Directed by Peter Chelsom for US$30M, released Stateside in early February and so far it as recovered just US$11M and has received largely negative press. Set in the near future, a Nathaniel Shepard (Gary Oldman) as the CEO of a space colonisation company Genesis, launches the first manned mission to inhabit Mars. Along the way en route to Mars astronaut Sarah Elliot (Janet Montgomery) discovers she is pregnant and soon after landing, in childbirth she dies. But her new born son, survives. The father is unknown at this stage. Shepard, decides to let the child live, on Mars, under secrecy from the world to avoid a PR train wreck. Fast forward sixteen years, and Gardner Elliot (Asa Butterfield) has grown up to be an intelligent lad who has only ever met fourteen other human beings, and knows nothing outside of his existence on Mars, other than what he sees on a computer screen. However, being the inquisitive young fellow that he is, and with plenty of time on his hands he decides to do some digging to determine his parentage. What follows is Gardner's exploits and life changing adventure as he ventures to Earth for the first time to find his father, falls in love, and ultimately has to return to Mars to save his own life. Also starring Carla Gugino, Britt Robertson, Gil Birmingham, B.D.Wong and Scott Takeda.
'ROUGH STUFF' (Rated M) - known as 'Rovers', they are best described as wanderers and drifters living on the edges of society in the Australian outback, looking to escape their past lives and start life afresh. Written and Directed by Jonathan Adams, here we find Buzz (Gareth Rickards) who has searched high and low across every nook & cranny of the great Australian continent in search of the legendary Stray’s Gold - a treasure that will keep him in car spare parts and fuel for the rest of his life. Just as he is ready to jack it all in, Buzz is approached by Eric (Jamie Kristian) who just happens to have a map supposedly leading to the whereabouts of the fabled Stray’s Gold. Eric is happy to part with the map in exchange for passage for him and his activist buddies Tori (Hayley Sullivan), Skye (Katie Garfield) and Tom (Adam Horner) who want to stage a protest at the site of a new mine from mining company Madsen Minerals, led by unscrupulous Daniel Madsen (Robert Babin). Seeing this as his last ditch attempt to realise his life long goal, Buzz convinces his ragtag crew of Rovers, Abe and Scraps (Vincent Andriano and Sam Glissan respectively), to follow him on one last attempt to locate the gold. With their souped-up custom off-road 4WD's, the Rovers and the Activists embark on the wildest and most intrepid adventure of their lives, but with rising tensions and ulterior motives coming to the fore, so exciting off-road chases, daring rescues, clashing personalities and amazing discoveries ensue.
'THE EAGLE HUNTRESS' (Rated G) - this Kazakh language British, Mongolian and American Co-Production was first screened at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2016, released in the US in early November and in the UK in mid-December and has so far taken US$3M. It has picked up eight award wins and another eighteen nominations, including a BAFTA nod. Directed by Otto Bell, in his debut, and partly narrated by Daisy Ridley, this documentary film tells the story of a young thirteen year old Kazakh girl Aisholpan, as she strives to become the first female eagle hunter to take part in the Eagle Festival at Ulgii in Mongolia, first established in 1999. She hails from a family of nomads that spend the Summer months in a yurt in the Altai Mountains and their Winters in the comfort of a house in a nearby town. The men of her family have been eagle hunters for multiple generations, and she has ambitions to follow in their footsteps. With the aid of her father Nurgaiv, she learns how to train Golden Eagles, and then captures and trains her own eaglet. Although she faces some disbelief, resentment and opposition from the traditionally male dominated domain, she goes on to become the first female to enter the competition at the annual Golden Eagle Festival, wins the competition, and, her eaglet breaks a speed record in one of the events too. The film is Executive Produced by Morgan Spurlock, which helped get the Production over the line, and in the can.
There really is something for everyone this week, ranging from romantic drama bio, to space age romantic adventure, to psychological horror, to outback adventure to foreign language family doco. There is no better reason to get out to your local movie theatre and catch a film of choice in your week ahead, and then, share your views with us here. So, I guess I'll see you sometime, somewhere in the coming week at your local Odeon.
-Steve, at Odeon Online-