News Round-up – Dunkirk trailer, Jolie leaves crime thriller, Pets sequel and more

The first trailer for one of the most anticipated movies of 2017 dropped this week, sending ripples of excitement through the world of cinema and outrage through the strange world of One Direction obsessives. Meanwhile, there were a few pieces of really great news for women in the movie industry and several sequels moved forward into the spotlight.

And on top of all that, Brexit might have put an end to the Mrs Brown’s Boys D’Movie sequel. There’s hope for us all yet!

Here’s all of the movie news from this week…


First look at Nolan’s wartime thriller

Soldiers duck for cover in the trailer for Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk
Soldiers duck for cover in the trailer for Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk

It’s fair to say that few films are as anticipated for next summer as Christopher Nolan‘s Dunkirk. The excitement was only increased this week when the first Dunkirk trailer arrived online, giving a hint of the film’s tone. Precious little is known about the enigmatic, secretive director’s take on the pivotal World War Two event, but we do know that the cast includes the likes of Tom Hardy, Mark Rylance and, bizarrely, pop star Harry Styles.

It was Styles who dominated much of the discussion of the Dunkirk trailer, with Directioners flocking to Twitter to shout about how sad they were that their idol didn’t make an appearance in the brief teaser. Elsewhere, the reaction to the trailer was very positive, with movie fans thrilled to see a distinctly Nolanesque take on the war movie. Dunkirk will be released in July 2017.


Jolie hops off the Orient Express

Angelina Jolie at Comic-Con in 2010
Angelina Jolie at Comic-Con in 2010 (Photo: Gage Skidmore)

Kenneth Branagh‘s take on the classic Agatha Christie tale Murder on the Orient Express was dealt a major blow this week, when Angelina Jolie was confirmed not to be starring in the movie. Variety wrote that Jolie had never signed on the dotted line and the studio is now seeking other big names, such as Charlize Theron. The story will be full of people mysteriously disappearing, but they usually wait until the film has started…

Branagh will direct the new movie, as well as taking on the central role of detective Hercule Poirot. It’s a classic murder-mystery that should still have the ability to enthrall audiences. Murder on the Orient Express is set for a November 2017 release.


Brie behind camera for Unicorn Store

Brie Larson won a Best Actress Oscar this year for Room
Brie Larson won a Best Actress Oscar this year for Room (Photo: Disney ABC)

She’s won an Oscar and it seems that world domination is next on Brie Larson‘s to-do list. She is set to direct and produce indie comedy Unicorn Store and she will also star in it, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The film follows a woman who, after moving back in with her parents, has her ideas of adulthood challenged when she receives an invite to the eponymous location. Rebel Wilson was previously attached to the leading role.

It’s a smart move for Larson, who directed an award-winning short film a few years ago, in that it cements her as an all-rounder and a real creative voice. Given that she’s also teasing fans with her ongoing research for Captain Marvel, everything’s coming up Brie at the moment.


Secret Life of Pets fetches sequel

Kevin Hart voiced an evil bunny in The Secret Life of Pets
Kevin Hart voiced an evil bunny in The Secret Life of Pets

In some of the least surprising news of the year so far, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed that Illumination’s super-successful animation The Secret Life of Pets is getting a sequel. The film, providing an oasis of originality in the midst of a mediocre summer, has crossed $500m at the global box office.

This marks Illumination’s second major franchise, after the unstoppable Despicable Me juggernaut and its associated tidal wave of yellow-skinned, funny-voiced merchandise. The Secret Life of Pets 2 is penciled in for July 2018 and it will almost certainly be one of the biggest films of that summer.


Edgerton to partner J-Law in Red Sparrow

Jennifer Lawrence appears at Comic-Con in 2013
Jennifer Lawrence appears at Comic-Con in 2013 (Photo: Gage Skidmore)

Jennifer Lawrence is set to be joined by a fellow A-lister at the head of espionage thriller Red Sparrow. According to Deadline, Joel Edgerton is set to board the movie, which will be helmed by Hunger Games franchise director Francis Lawrence. The movie follows Lawrence’s Russian operative, assigned to seduce the CIA man Edgerton looks set to play. Their chemistry, however, soon turns Lawrence’s character against her post-Soviet homeland.

Red Sparrow has the potential to be a compelling and intriguing thriller. Lawrence and Edgerton don’t have a proven chemistry from previous films, but they are two excellent performers who have excelled as a variety of very different characters. And for any actor looking to get themselves noticed for awards and critical praise, standing next to the mighty J-Law is a great move.


Warner pencils in Fantastic Beasts sequel

Eddie Redmayne in new JK Rowling tale Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Eddie Redmayne in new JK Rowling tale Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

We’re still several months away from seeing JK Rowling’s screenwriting debut in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, but it’s clear that Warner Bros has plenty of confidence in the franchise. The story was initially pitched as a trilogy and the greenlight has now been given for the second film, with November 2018 earmarked as the release date. Rowling will again pen the script and Harry Potter veteran David Yates will once again direct.

This is certainly a brave move from Warner, but they’re probably right to have confidence in Rowling and her wizarding world. The wave of adoration that has greeted the Hogwarts-set play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in the West End will likely have emboldened the studio to bank on their Eddie Redmayne-led sojourn into the pre-Voldemort years. Trailers have teased a rollicking adventure with plenty of odd-looking beasties. That sounds like the magical return we’ve all been waiting for.


Ava DuVernay makes history for women in film

Ava DuVernay promotes A Wrinkle in Time at D23 Expo
Ava DuVernay promotes A Wrinkle in Time at D23 Expo (Photo: Disney/Image Group LA)

Selma director Ava DuVernay was snubbed at that year’s Oscars, leaving many shocked that such an important and emotionally resonant film went without recognition. DuVernay has now secured a major honour, though, as the first woman of colour to work with a live action budget of over $100m. DuVernay will wield this impressive pile of cash at the helm of Disney’s A Wrinkle in Time. The film follows a young girl whose scientist father disappears after working on a top secret government project.

It’s great to see a woman being given such a big budget to work with and, particularly, a woman who has proven herself capable of producing a film as impressive as Selma. Hopefully, between this and Wonder Woman, there will be a renewed belief in women as capable of directing big-budget tentpole blockbusters.


Did this trailer get you hyped for Dunkirk? Which sequel are you most looking forward to? Let me know in the comments section and come back next Sunday for another news round-up.

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