Category Archives: Movies

Early Man — New Trailer

Let’s end 2017 on a happy note. This is the new trailer for Early Man, from Aardman Animations and Studiocanal. Voices by Eddie Redmayne, Tom Hiddleston, Richard Ayoade, and Maisie Williams.

Early Man opens on 26 January 2018 in the UK and on 16 February 2018 in the US.

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David Bowie: The Last Five Years Coming to HBO

The BBC documentary, David Bowie: The Last Five Years, is coming to HBO early next year.

According to the BBC’s program notes:

“This is an intimate portrait of one of the defining artists of the 20th and early 21st centuries, told by the people who knew him best – his friends and artistic collaborators.

“This film takes a detailed look at Bowie’s last albums, The Next Day and Blackstar, and his play Lazarus. In his final five years, Bowie not only began producing music again, but returned to the core and defining themes of his career. This film explores how Bowie was a far more consistent artist than many interpretations of his career would have us believe. It traces the core themes from his final works and relates them to his incredible back catalogue. His urge to communicate feelings of spirituality, alienation and fame underpin his greatest works from the 1960s to 2016. This is what lies at the heart of his success and appeal – music that deals with what it means to be human in a way that goes far beyond the normal palette of a rock star.”

David Bowie: The Last Five Years premieres on HBO on 8 January 2018, commemorating what would have been Bowie’s 71st birthday.

Ready Player One – Official Trailer 1

The official trailer for Ready Player One, Steven Spielberg’s film version of the Ernest Cline’s novel of the same name, hit the Net today.

Here’s what I wrote about Ready Player One last summer, when an earlier version of the trailer played at Comic-Con:


Ernest Cline’s science-fiction novel, Ready Player One was the fanboy must-read book of 2011. It’s set in the unhappy and decaying United States of 2044, when a decades-long recession, a trashed environment, and the general collapse of civil society have driven many people to spend much of their time hooked into a virtual reality universe called the OASIS. When there’s a two-year waiting list for jobs at Burger King, escapism is a logical choice.

As our hero and narrator, Wade Watts, known in the OASIS as “Parzival,” points out:

“Now that I was eighteen, I could vote, in both the OASIS elections and the elections for U.S. government officials. I didn’t bother with the latter, because I didn’t see the point. The once-great country into which I’d been born now resembled its former self in name only. It didn’t matter who was in charge. Those people were rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic and everyone knew it. Besides, now that everyone could vote from home, via the OASIS, the only people who could get elected were movie stars, reality TV personalities, or radical televangelists.”

[Keep repeating, “It’s only a movie. It’s only a movie. It’s only a movie.”]

Anyhow, the now-dead creator of the OASIS was a man named James Halliday who, not unlike many of the readers of this book, was a 1980s obsessive. You know, the kind of person who goes nuts over spotting the 80s allusions in Stranger Things….

OASIS made Halliday very, very rich. When his will was read, it revealed that he’d hidden three “keys” in OASIS and that the first person to find them, and solve the puzzles linked to them, would be the sole inheritor of OASIS and of Halliday’s massive fortune. All that would be required to solve the puzzles was an encyclopedic knowledge of the movies, music, video games, and TV shows of the 1980s.

Enter Parzival.

I liked the book, but didn’t love it. It’s a fast, easy, enjoyable read, full of Easter eggs for those of us who have, well, “an encyclopedic knowledge of the movies, music, video games, and TV shows of the 1980s,” but it was definitely light reading, without much depth or meaning. It’s a book that’s the perfect source for a big spring/summer movie.

Steven Spielberg (who else?) is directing. The film is scheduled to be released on 30 March 2018.


The fanboys are already salivating over this one. Ready Player One might be the first blockbuster of 2018. It’s certainly one of the most anticipated movies of the new year.

Call Me By Your Name — Official Trailer

Call Me By Your Name, a film about the charged summer relationship between the son of an American professor and a visiting grad student, has been getting rapturous early reviews from people whose judgement I trust. There’s already a lot of Award chatter for the film itself and for Timothée Chalamet’s lead performance as the 17-year-old Elio Perlman. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a 96% fresh rating.

I don’t know. The movie is based on a novel of the same name by André Aciman. I tried, twice, to read it, but I couldn’t get beyond the first 40 pages. I found Elio’s first-person narration to be a little more lush and effete than I could take.

The script for the film is by James Ivory, which almost goes without saying, because the movie is 1) homoerotic and 2) set in Italy. I mean, who better?

Call Me By Your Name will be released in the United States on 24 November 2017, and yes, that’s Sufjan Stevens on the film’s soundtrack.

Cute Video of the Day, 16 October 2017 — The Duchess and the Dancing Bear

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry are Patrons of the more than over 30 charitable organisations that make up The Charities Forum.

On Monday, they stopped by Paddington Station to wish bon voyage to 130 children who have been helped by several of those charities. The children, and some of their parents, were off to spend a day in the country. Before their train departed, the Royals spent about 45 minutes meeting the group.

Paddington Station may be best known to children for its connection to the Paddington Bear, and, sure enough, he made an appearance. (He was probably in town for a film shoot, since the movie Paddington 2 will be released in the UK in early January 2018.) Hugh Bonneville and several other members of the cast were also in attendance.*


*It has always been my theory that, at any given time, there are only about 100 actors working in the UK, and that they’re all in everything.

The cast of Paddington 2  includes Brendan Gleeson, Ben Whishaw (as the voice of the Bear), Michael Gambon, Hugh Grant, Richard Ayoade, Jim Broadbent, Joanna Lumley, Peter Capaldi, Imelda Staunton, and Tom Conti.

Case closed.

Stranger Things 2 — Final Trailer

But first, the teaser for the trailer:

It’s Halloween, 1984, and all is not well in Hawkins, Indiana. The kids are still in trouble, a big ugly monster with a lot of tentacles is creeping around, and Wynona Ryder is freaking out again. It’s almost time for Stranger Things 2.

The conventional wisdom is that the sequel is never as good as the original, but there are exceptions to the rule. There are arguments to be made, for instance, that The Godfather Part II, Aliens, and The Empire Strikes Back improve on their predecessors.

Stranger Things, Netflix’s homage to the Steven Spielberg/Stephen King version of the 1980s, was the big television hit of the summer of 2017, and one of the most talked-about media events of the year.

In two weeks, we’ll see if lightning can strike twice in the same place. (Hint: It can.)

On Friday, 27 October 2018, Netflix will make all the episodes of Stranger Things 2 available for streaming.


A Little Bonus

Lady Bird — First Trailer

Lady Bird, the writing and directorial début of Greta Gerwig, looks like great fun.

Saoirse Ronan, late of Brooklyn, plays “Lady Bird,” a character based on Gerwig’s own younger persona. Laurie Metcalf, coming off a Tony Award Best Actress win for A Doll’s House, Part 2. reportedly steals the show as her mother.

Supporting are Tracy Letts, Lucas Hedges, Timothée Chalamet, who’s certainly having A Year.

The film is scheduled for a 10 November 2017 release.