News Round-up – Avengers: Infinity War trailer, Lady Bird leads awards season charge, Mulan casting and more

It almost seems futile to round-up the rest of the week’s movie news given that we got a trailer for perhaps the most ambitious blockbuster film of all time. The internet has been packed with discussion of Avengers: Infinity War, which marks the culmination of a decade of storytelling in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Elsewhere, Anna Kendrick joined an interesting project that has been flying under the radar and the opening salvos of awards season were fired with the first selection of major prizes handed out. There was big casting news for Disney’s live-action reboot of animated film Mulan and we got a first trailer for Biblical drama Mary Magdalene, directed by Lion filmmaker Garth Davis.

Here’s your movie news round-up…


Infinity War trailer teases epic to end all epics

Marvel's top heroes unite to battle Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War
Marvel’s top heroes unite to battle Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War

After months of jealousy towards those who got to see footage at Comic-Con and the D23 Expo, the public got its first glimpse of Avengers: Infinity War with a full trailer for Marvel’s upcoming mega-blockbuster. We got a look at Josh Brolin‘s powerful titan Thanos, who is amassing as many of the Infinity Stones as he can. Also, Chris Evans has a beard and emerges from the shadows while brooding, which has caused a small explosion in the fangirl corners of the web.

This is a trailer that has all of the scale and epic feel you would expect from perhaps the most ambitious movie ever made. There is big CGI conflict and plenty of shots of our favourite heroes looking seriously scared. This is going to be an enormous film and, as first trailers go, this is certainly a stunning way to build hype. Avengers: Infinity War is due for a release in UK cinemas on April 2018.

For more analysis of the Infinity War trailer, take a look at my list of things we learned.


Anna Kendrick joins new Chris Morris movie

Anna Kendrick at Comic-Con in 2016
Anna Kendrick at Comic-Con in 2016 (Photo: Gage Skidmore)

Chris Morris has been quiet for a long time, directing a few episodes of Veep without making much else since his brave, hilarious feature debut Four Lions in 2010. It seems he has been working on a movie in secret and, according to Chortle, that project is set to star Anna Kendrick. There’s no word yet as to what exactly the story is, but Kendrick was pictured on set this summer with a big old gun and wearing body armour. When pressed on the project, Four Lions co-writer Simon Blackwell said Morris’s film is going to be “very marvellous”.

It’s always exciting to hear of a new Morris film and the involvement of Kendrick is doubly interesting. She’s spent a lot of time recently in bigger films, so it’s exciting to see her moving towards a potentially smaller and sharper project. Morris is capable of conjuring the sharpest of satirical tales and Kendrick has ample comedic talents, which Morris can certainly squeeze out.


Lady Bird and The Post win top awards

Lady Bird and The Post have already become major awards season players
Lady Bird and The Post have already become major awards season players

Awards season got going last week with the Gotham Awards, which lauded gay romance Call Me By Your Name as the best film of the year. This week, both the New York Film Critics Circle and the National Board of Review delivered their year-end awards. It was Greta Gerwig‘s Lady Bird that won big with the NYFCC, with Saoirse Ronan adding another Best Actress win to her Gotham victory. The other big winner was The Florida Project, which won Best Supporting Actor for Willem Dafoe and Best Director. The biggest surprise of the night was Tiffany Haddish, who won Best Supporting Actress for her raucous comic performance in Girls Trip.

Over at the National Board of Review, it was Steven Spielberg‘s awards magnet The Post that won the Best Film gong. Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep nabbed the Best Actor and Best Actress prizes for the same film, while Gerwig won Best Director and Dafoe picked up another Supporting Actor prize. Both ceremonies also honoured Phantom Thread with Best Screenplay, despite embargoes in place meaning no one can actually review it yet.


Live-action Mulan remake finds its leading lady

Liu Yifei in kung-fu fantasy film The Forbidden Kingdom
Liu Yifei in kung-fu fantasy film The Forbidden Kingdom

Disney’s march to remake all of their major live-action properties is set to continue with Mulan and the studio cast that movie’s lead this week. The Hollywood Reporter revealed Chinese star Liu Yifei will play the eponymous female warrior who poses as a man to fight. Liu has acted in the English language before on several occasions, including in 2008 fantasy movie The Forbidden Kingdom. Niki Caro, who most recently made wartime drama The Zookeeper’s Wife, is on board to direct.

This is a solid move from Disney, which reportedly saw about a thousand potential leading ladies for the film. Liu is an established name in her native country, giving the film access to the cash cow that is the Chinese box office. It’s also great to see a major movie that provides a real opportunity for people of colour to take the lead in a full-on Hollywood blockbuster. Mulan is currently set to be released at some stage in 2019.


Redmayne and Jones unite for Amazon movie

Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones in The Theory of Everything
Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones in The Theory of Everything

A couple of years after they both became awards season favourites for their work together on The Theory of Everything, British duo Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones are set to join forces once again. Variety wrote this week that Redmayne and Jones are set to work together for Amazaon movie The Aeronauts, which tells the story of 19th century balloon pilot Amelia Wren and scientist James Glaisher, who flew higher in a balloon than anyone else.

This sounds like an intriguing proposition and hopefully the Redmayne/Jones double act can match the chemistry they showed in the Stephen Hawking biopic. There’s a potentially compelling survival story here and, with these two involved on top of the period setting, it could easily be a magnet for awards season attention. There is no release date currently set for The Aeronauts.


Mara goes biblical in Mary Magdalene trailer

Rooney Mara takes on the title role in Mary Magdalene
Rooney Mara takes on the title role in Mary Magdalene

Garth Davis certainly made a big splash with his debut film as Lion made its presence known on the awards circuit. As second movies go, a big Biblical drama taking on the story of Mary Magdalene is certainly a statement. A first trailer for Mary Magdalene appeared online this week, showcasing Rooney Mara as the title character, Joaquin Phoenix as Jesus and Chiwetel Ejiofor as Peter the apostle. The film sees Mary grapple with the social hierarchies of the time to become a crucial part of Jesus’s movement.

The trailer is a rather pedestrian experience that seems to stumble somewhat under the weight of its own self-importance. It looks like yet another humourless trudge through well-trodden Biblical material, which will almost certainly bring in a shedload of awards attention. We all remember what happened with Exodus: Gods and Kings, which was about as boring as a film can get. Mary Magdalene will be released in March 2018.


Matthew Vaughn has sci-fi pic in his crosshairs

Claudia Schiffer and Matthew Vaughn at the European premier of Kick-Ass in 2010
Claudia Schiffer and Matthew Vaughn at the European premier of Kick-Ass in 2010 (Photo: Xuka)

Matthew Vaughn is circling a new project, according to Deadline this week. Vaughn usually directs from his own scripts, but this time he has picked up a spec script from Stranger Things exec producer Karl Gajdusek, which he would helm for Fox. The film, entitled Courage, is being kept under wraps but described as in the vein of Inception and Edge of Tomorrow.

It seems Vaughn is taking a break from churning out Kingsman movies in order to do something a little different. He’s not confirmed for the director’s chair as yet, but it seems likely Vaughn might be lining up a rather different project for his next film.


Did the Avengers: Infinity War trailer get you hyped for the Marvel smackdown? Which film do you think will prevail in the heat of Oscars season? Let me know in the comments section and come back next Sunday for another news round-up.

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