News Round-up – Jumanji and Pitch Perfect 3 trailers, Elgort to be JFK and more

After the franchise-shaking bombshells of last week’s movie news, it was back to business as usual this week with big trailers landing for two of the blockbuster movies still to come this year – as well as a colourful musical starring Hugh Jackman that is very likely to figure in next year’s awards season conversation.

Elsewhere, there’s some exciting casting news for Ansel Elgort in the wake of ecstatic reviews for his new film Baby Driver and also the revelation that a film almost nobody liked last year has somehow managed to get a sequel. The business workings of Hollywood are very odd indeed.

Here’s your movie news round-up…


Jumanji trailer channels The Breakfast Club

Dwayne Johnson reveals the People's Eyebrow in Jumanji
Dwayne Johnson reveals the People’s Eyebrow in Jumanji

Cynicism has greeted the upcoming Jumanji remake at every stage of the development process, but this week, the first trailer for the film answered some of the criticisms. It shows us a Breakfast Club-style group of disparate youngsters who discover an odd computer game while cooped up in detention. When they pick their avatars, they are transplanted into the eponymous game, where things get perilous in a hurry.

By the time the first shot of Dwayne Johnson featured his classic People’s Eyebrow, I was sold on this trailer. It’s a light, fun preview that suggests we’re getting a very silly adventure romp with tongue placed firmly in cheek. The references to Karen Gillan‘s skimpy clothing are a classic case of having your cake and eating it, but the decision to have these well-known actors play against their trademark personas is a very interesting one that could be enough to make the film work. Jumanji will land in UK cinemas in December.


Aca-reunion for Pitch Perfect 3 trailer

Anna Kendrick in the trailer for Pitch Perfect 3
Anna Kendrick in the trailer for Pitch Perfect 3

Although the second Pitch Perfect movie has considerable charm, it lacked the instant cool factor of the first film. Now we have the first trailer for Pitch Perfect 3, which sees the former Barden Bellas reunite for the last time when they get the opportunity to perform together on an overseas tour – years after they graduated college. There’s a new director at the helm in Trish Sie, but everything else looks rather like business as usual.

The trailer lacks much in the way of the sharp comedy we have come to expect from Pitch Perfect. It is being heavily marketed as the final entry in this franchise, but it looks in many ways as if it could be one film too many for Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson and friends. Hopefully, the chemistry between the central cast will be enough to carry the franchise through to a fun climax. Pitch Perfect 3 will hit cinemas in December.


Ansel Elgort to play young JFK in biopic

Ansel Elgort arrives at the Oscars in 2015
Ansel Elgort arrives at the Oscars in 2015 (Photo: ABC/Rick Rowell)

With Baby Driver attracting rave reviews, Ansel Elgort is flying high and he has landed a new role to match. Deadline reported this week that Elgort will play a young version of American icon John F Kennedy in upcoming film Mayday 109. Elgort will play Kennedy in the movie as a naval captain during the Second World War, depicting the real life heroism of the future president in one of the most remarkable rescues in US military history.

Elgort is a very talented young performer and he has been shrewd in his choice of roles since breaking out with heart-breaking teen weepie The Fault in Our Stars. There’s a certain charisma required to embody a man as well-known and beloved as JFK and Elgort has the charm and swagger to be able to pull it off.


Wilderpeople star joins Deadpool 2 cast

Ryan Reynolds and Julian Dennison prepare to film Deadpool 2
Ryan Reynolds and Julian Dennison prepare to film Deadpool 2

Superhero sequel Deadpool 2 started filming this week and, in the process of regaling us with tidbits from the set on his Instagram page, Ryan Reynolds revealed a new cast member. Reynolds, who will already be joined in the film by Josh Brolin and Zazie Beetz, will also share the screen with Julian Dennison – the young star of offbeat comedy adventure Hunt for the Wilderpeople. Dennison became a cult hit with many on the back of that Kiwi hit, making him something of an ideal fit for the follow-up to one of the most unusual superhero movies ever made.

Dennison is a great big screen discovery and he should bring a real comedy charm to Deadpool 2. It seems that just about everybody is going to pop up in this film eventually, but Dennison is a very wise pick. This is a film that definitely has something to prove and hopefully the creative team will be able to show that the original movie was not just a flash in the pan.


Jackman takes a bow in The Greatest Showman

Hugh Jackman stars as a showbiz pioneer in The Greatest Showman
Hugh Jackman stars as a showbiz pioneer in The Greatest Showman

Given the enormous success of La La Land this year, it’s perhaps unsurprising that another huge, glittering A-list musical is being lined up as one of the major contenders for next year’s awards season. This time around, it’s Hugh Jackman-starring circus tale The Greatest Showman and the first trailer for the film landed this week. Jackman plays showbiz pioneer PT Barnum, who worked his way up from nothing to run one of the most successful circuses the world has ever seen. Zac Efron and Michelle Williams appear in supporting roles.

The trailer is everything you’d expect from this film, with platitudes about following your dreams and high-enery musical sequences. It looks like it could be a fun movie, if not one that seems to have the pedigree to set awards season alight. The one thing missing is a more detailed look at any of the actual songs that will feature in the movie. The Greatest Showman will arrive in British cinemas, presumably in a hail of confetti, on New Year’s Day 2018.


Affleck back for The Accountant sequel

Anna Kendrick joins Ben Affleck to crunch numbers in The Accountant
Anna Kendrick joins Ben Affleck to crunch numbers in The Accountant

In sequel news absolutely nobody was expecting, Deadline wrote this week that Ben Affleck and director Gavin O’Connor are set to reunite for a sequel to the much-maligned thriller The Accountant. The film didn’t review well, but made $155m worldwide from a budget of just $44m. Those aren’t huge numbers, but apparently it’s enough for Warner Bros to move forward.

The Accountant was a rather dull and incredibly bloated thriller with a lazy Hollywood perspective on what autism actually means. It was trash masquerading as something more serious and featured a truly charisma-free performance from Affleck. There are dozens of films released every year that deserve to get a sequel, so it’s baffling that this is the one that has received the backing of its studio. Hollywood is weird.


Andy Serkis debut to open London Film Festival

Claire Foy and Andrew Garfield in Andy Serkis' drama Breathe
Claire Foy and Andrew Garfield in Andy Serkis’ drama Breathe

The BFI London Film Festival is perhaps the biggest event on the movie calendar here in the UK and this year’s festival now has its opening night gala film. The BFI announced this week that the opening night of LFF 2017 will host the European premiere of true life drama Breathe. Starring Andrew Garfield and Claire Foy, it marks the directorial debut of mo-cap maestro Andy Serkis. Garfield plays a man struck down by polio, who refuses to let the illness run his life.

Breathe is a solid pick to open LFF given the level of British talent involved. The festival has always done a cracking job of championing British cinema in amongst its high-profile American films and Serkis’ directorial debut will certainly benefit from being given the enviable spot of kicking off the festivities. LFF will take place in October, with the full line-up due to be announced in August.


Did you prefer the Jumanji trailer or the first look at Pitch Perfect 3? Will Ansel Elgort make a good JFK? Let me know in the comments section and come back next Sunday for another news round-up.

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