It has been a much quieter week than normal when it comes to movie news, with awards season taking a temporarily lull ahead of the coming week’s announcement of the Oscar nominations. However, Disney has wielded its might to seize control of the film agenda by drip-feeding some tiny details for their two biggest movies of the next 12 months.
Elsewhere, there was a new look at Alicia Vikander in the Tomb Raider reboot and some interesting news about what Steven Spielberg will be doing next after uniting the mighty forces of Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks for journalism drama The Post.
Here’s your movie news round-up…
Infinity War and Solo release vague summaries
There was presumably an internal battle this week at Disney, with the marketing teams behind Avengers: Infinity War and Solo: A Star Wars Story competing to see who could release the most vague plot summary for their movie. The blurb for Infinity War basically just tells us the Avengers will come together to take on Thanos, who is carrying out a “blitz of destruction” that will lead to the heroes’ “deadliest showdown”. Much has been made of that last phrase and, although it’s likely a given that some key characters will shuffle off this mortal coil in Infinity War, that could easily just be marketing hyperbole. Infinity War will be released in April 2018.
Meanwhile, over in Star Wars country, the summary for Solo teases a selection of “daring escapades deep within a dark and dangerous criminal underworld”. Alden Ehrenreich is set to play the space scoundrel, with Donald Glover popping up as gambler-turned-buddy-turned-foe-turned-buddy Lando Calrissian. It’s a vague synopsis that tells us nothing. In that particular battle against the Avengers, Solo is probably the winner. The box office will almost certainly say differently. Solo: A Star Wars Story is due to be released in May 2018.
Vikander kicks arse in new Tomb Raider trailer
The Alicia Vikander-led reboot of Tomb Raider is a project that seems to have been trucking along for quite some time without anyone getting all that excited about it. This week, a new trailer for the movie landed online, hinting at more of the plot and presenting us with a good look at Walton Goggins as the film’s bad guy. The plot will seemingly follow Lara Croft as she visits an island her father once travelled to in search of an ancient tomb. Presumably, she will be raiding that tomb at some point.
Everything about this movie looks like a generic action blockbuster. It’s as if the brilliantly named director Roar Uthaug is attempting to make The Hunger Games and Wonder Woman at the same time. That’s a recipe for something that’s not as original or as interesting as either of those movies. Tomb Raider will hit UK cinemas in March 2018.
Spielberg eyeing up next directing gig
The formidable trio of Spielberg-Hanks-Streep in The Post is a tough act to follow, but the director has some interesting choices in place for his next project, according to a report in Deadline. Spielberg is reportedly considering taking on the Indiana Jones reboot, presumably with Harrison Ford reprising another of his iconic roles, as his next movie, but there’s also a new take on West Side Story in place as a potential dream project for the filmmaker.
Either of these two projects would mark an exciting move for Spielberg, who has Ready Player One on the way as his next completed film. Indiana Jones was dated for 2020 by Disney a while back, but there doesn’t seem to be much forward momentum on it as yet. Spielberg is in the unique position of being a director who can get a project into the fast lane simply by attaching himself so, whatever he chooses, it’s certainly going to be splashed across marquees near to all of us in the near future.
Spencer and Chastain join forces for Christmas
Two of the stars of Oscar-winning drama The Help are set to share the screen once again, with the news this week that Octavia Spencer and Jessica Chastain will appear together in a comedy set over the Christmas period. Variety wrote this week that the comedy has landed at Universal after a heated bidding war, with Chastain set to produce having written the original story treatment with Kelly Carmichael.
This sounds like an exciting prospect. Neither of these two performers are particularly known for comedy, though both of them have handled lighter dialogue in more serious fare. It seems likely that Spencer’s character will be the more comedic, with Chastain likely to play ‘straight man’ to Spencer in the movie. This sounds like a project that could well end up hitting cinemas before the year is out.
Flashpoint eyes up Vacation reboot directors
There’s some rare good news in the chaotic land of the DC Extended Universe. Flashpoint, which is set to be a solo outing for Ezra Miller as the Flash, is taking a step forward having hired a pair of directors. Variety revealed that John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein, who made their directorial debuts in the disastrous Vacation reboot, are in negotiations to take the helm of Flashpoint, which will get moving when Miller’s work on the Fantastic Beasts sequel is done. As well as directing Vacation, the duo did some work on the script for Spider-Man: Homecoming, which gives them something of a superhero pedigree.
This hiring seems to suggest DC is looking for a more comedic tone to the Flashpoint movie, which would make sense given the light-hearted portrayal of the character Miller provided in Justice League. There’s plenty of talk about this movie being a potential soft reboot for the DC continuity, given the time-bending potential of the comic book arc that provides the title. Flashpoint is currently on for a 2020 release, but there’s every chance it could change.
Weisz pegged for sci-fi film Cloud One
After a busy 2017, Rachel Weisz has set up a new project for this year. She is set to take on the leading role in sci-fi tale Cloud One, as reported by Variety. The film, which will be written and directed by Goran Dukic, is based on a short story, but plot details are being kept very tightly under wraps. All the report tells us is that the film will be a “grounded” sci-fi tale. This suggests we have a story here that’s more about ideas than it is about spectacle.
This sounds like an intriguing move for Weisz, who has been short on mainstream star vehicles recently and has been working in the world of smaller, indie movies. She has an interesting 2018 ahead of her, with Cloud One due to start shooting in the spring, while audiences will be treated to The Favourite, which reunites the actress with Yorgos Lanthimos, who directed her in the delightfully odd romantic drama The Lobster.
Wheatley already at work on cryptic new movie
No one could ever criticise Ben Wheatley for resting on his laurels. He’s a prolific filmmaker with about as varied a portfolio as any director working today. It seems he’s been making a film on the quiet in recent weeks, with Wheatley sharing shots from an unannounced film on his Instagram page. According to a shot of a clapperboard, the film is being made under the working title of Colin You Anus, which has Empire theorising that the project could be a crude reimagining of Shakespeare’s Coriolanus. Whatever the movie, it’s uniting Wheatley regulars including DoP Laurie Rose and stars Sam Riley (Free Fire) and Neil Maskell (Kill List).
The prospect of a new Ben Wheatley film is always exciting and it’s particularly intriguing to see him making the project in a defiantly low-budget, guerrilla style. We have seen him work with increasingly high budgets with his most recent movies and he has starry sci-fi movie Freakshift on his slate. At this stage, there’s not much more to say about Colin You Anus, but I will certainly be following it very closely.
Which of the two biggest blockbusters of 2018 are you most excited to see? Did you enjoy the new trailer for Tomb Raider? Let me know in the comments section and come back next Sunday for another news round-up.