How can it be the silly season already? Let’s celebrate the silliness with plenty of reasons to seek the peace and calm of a cinema during the holidays. Here are my Top 5 picks...
2D & 3D (December 8) Written and produced by Peter Jackson. Directed by Christian Rivers. Starring Hugo Weaving and Hera Hilmar. Sir Peter Jackson didn’t direct this, but as writer and producer his DNA is all through Mortal Engines and will be well worth seeing on the big screen. The Philip Reeve books the film is based on are a cracking read and while they target the Young Adult audience, the film skews a little older. This is a future world where the remaining cities – traction cities – roll around the barren landscape on the hunt for smaller cities they must devour to ensure their own survival; the biggest and hungriest of them all is London. But a rebellion is afoot, soon led by a mysterious young woman called Hester Shaw. There are plenty of big-ticket themes to ponder here – climate change and consumerism just two of them – but at it’s heart this just looks like a rollicking adventure tale.
2D & 3D (Boxing Day) Directed by James Wan. Starring Jason Momoa and Amber Heard. The DC Universe continues its box office war with Marvel and Aquaman is their latest salvo. Forged in the fiery pits of Game of Thrones and introduced as Aquaman in the heavily derided Justice League, Jason Momoa headlines this spinoff opposite Amber Heard, Nicole Kidman and our own Temuera Morrison. Arguably one of the few highlights of Justice League, fans will be clinging to the hope that Momoa will bring the same humour and light touch to his own movie. I look forward to being convinced. The Favourite (Boxing Day) Directed by Yorgos Lanthimos. Starring Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone. Fans of Greek filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos (The Killing of a Sacred Deer/The Lobster) will be girding their cinematic loins for this latest outing with awards buzz already swirling around the performance of British actress Olivia Colman. If the early trailers are anything to go by this will be another darkly satirical and enormously entertaining tale and a right royal romp as Colman takes on the role of an ailing Queen Anne. Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone play in support as friend and servant, but the ambitions of both will affect the balance of power among all three women, and I cannot wait to watch this triumvirate of supremely talented powerhouse actresses go head to head. The Hate U Give (January 10) Directed by George Tillman Jr. Starring Amandla Stenberg, Anthony Mackie and K.J. Apa. I recently saw an early showing of The Hate U Give with zero clue what the film was about. Two hours later I left the cinema in floods of tears and feeling fundamentally altered. This film is based on the New York Times best-seller and is the story of high school student Starr Carter (Amandla Stenberg). Starr has a double-life in a way, living with her family in a mostly poor, mostly black neighbourhood, but going across the city each day to a mostly rich, mostly white high school. She learns to occupy both versions of herself with ease until the one day when everything changes. She is forced to confront the very thing that makes her who she is, and her personal journey to find the courage to use her voice has more power to inform and change racial prejudice than anything else I can recall experiencing in modern day cinema. Urgent, essential viewing. Mary Poppins Returns (New Years Day) Directed by Rob Marshall. Starring Emily Blunt, Meryl Streep, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Colin Firth. Are we ready for the return of Mary Poppins? It appears we are. The role made famous by Julie Andrews here goes to the marvellous Emily Blunt, as our favourite nanny drops in on the Banks siblings to help out with Michael’s children. I have to confess I never stepped on the original Mary Poppins train so I’m not coming to this one with a tonne of emotional expectations. One thing I do know, however, is Mary Poppins and her supercalifragilisticexpialidocious soundtrack are adored across the world and hold a special place in many hearts, so this sequel had better deliver!
Mortal Engines Aquaman The Favourite The Hate U Give Mary Poppins Returns