There were trailers everywhere this week as the movie studios began to lay out their slates for the second half of the year, after the scrum of summer blockbuster season has come to an end. We got a star-studded glimpse of Kenneth Branagh‘s upcoming new take on classic mystery Murder on the Orient Express, as well as an equally A-list preview of Steven Soderbergh‘s return to big screen directing in Logan Lucky.
Elsewhere, kaiju battle movie Godzilla vs. Kong landed a director and the Transformers spin-off movie looks set to add an exciting young actor to its cast.
Here’s your movie news round-up…
Branagh turns sleuth in Orient Express trailer
The upcoming adaptation of Agatha Christie’s classic crime story Murder on the Orient Express is one of the most star-studded movies on the Hollywood calendar. Kenneth Branagh is directing the film and also stars as detective Hercule Poirot, boasting a very impressive moustache based on the first trailer, unveiled online this week. The trailer also introduces us to the array of passengers and suspects, almost all of whom are played by major Hollywood players, including Johnny Depp, Josh Gad and Daisy Ridley.
This is a strange trailer, combining a period setting with a style and soundtrack reminiscent of more recent thrillers like Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train. This story has been adapted dozens of times and there are very few people who don’t know how it ends. However, for those of us – like this writer – who genuinely don’t know whodunnit, this could be a great way to bring the story to a whole new audience. Murder on the Orient Express will be released in November 2017.
Wingard boards Godzilla vs. Kong face-off
In a continuation of the trend for handing mega-budget blockbusters to indie filmmakers, The Hollywood Reporter revealed this week that Adam Wingard will be taking the helm of kaiju war Godzilla vs. Kong. Wingard is best known for his stylish horror movies, including You’re Next and The Guest, which are wry, cine-literate takes on the genre. He also made the secretive reboot of Blair Witch in 2016 and has an adaptation of the manga series Death Note launching on Netflix this year.
For me, Wingard is a great choice to take the helm of this movie. He will hopefully bring the horror edge that the other films in the franchise have been sorely lacking. He’s steeped in genre cinema and knows his way around an homage or two, so he will certainly have respect for the big screen heritage of both of these two characters. Godzilla vs. Kong is currently set for a release in 2020.
Paddington gets adorable in sequel trailer
When it hit cinemas at the tail end of 2014, Paddington was a genuinely lovable surprise. A sequel was almost immediately announced and we got our first look at it this week when a trailer for Paddington 2 arrived online. It’s a teaser light on plot, but it gives us a look at Ben Whishaw‘s bear once again, as well as his surrogate family, Peter Capaldi‘s nosy neighbour and new characters played by Hugh Grant and Brendan Gleeson. The trailer has a couple of great slapstick gags and culminates in Paddington riding on the back of a dog, which might be the cutest thing cinema has produced since Baby Dory.
This is one of the most exciting films of the year and should be a really charming addition to the sweeter corner of British cinema, away from the gritty world of kitchen sink drama. The first film came with a refreshing method of tolerance and, since that film came out, the need for such a message has only become stronger and more keenly felt. Paddington 2 will arrive in UK cinemas in November.
Tatum and Craig lead caper Logan Lucky
While promoting his brilliant thriller Side Effects in 2013, Steven Soderbergh announced his retirement from feature filmmaking. That didn’t last long at all and Soderbergh is now back with ensemble caper Logan Lucky, starring Channing Tatum and an outrageously accented Daniel Craig. A trailer for the film landed online this week and it’s another film seemingly starring everyone with an Equity card. The current James Bond is a notorious criminal recruited by Tatum and his siblings to help them carry out an audacious heist at a speedway track.
It’s another really fun trailer that shows Soderbergh is bringing real style and energy to this movie beyond its enviable roster of star players. Tatum has done great work alongside Soderbergh in the past in Side Effects and Magic Mike and almost every supporting role in the film is filled by someone with a proven track record on the big screen. Logan Lucky will be released in the UK in August.
Steinfeld circling Transformers spin-off
Apparently people still like the Transformers movies. Apparently enough people like them that a shared universe of spin-off movies is in the works, starting with Bumblebee – directed by Kubo and the Two Strings helmer Travis Knight. A report in Variety revealed this week that Hailee Steinfeld is circling a role in the spin-off. The details of Steinfeld’s potential role are currently under wraps and little is know about the film’s plot, which was fleshed out in a writer’s room earlier this year.
I find it utterly impossible to get excited about any developments in the Transformers universe. Michael Bay has presided over a disastrous series of films that have experienced a baffling degree of success and it’s tough to believe that a spin-off franchise is going to veer so wildly away from Bay’s vision that it will actually be decent. Steinfeld is a great performer in search of a signature role, but it’s tough to believe that a Bumblebee film will fill that void.
Williams to boss Schumer around in I Feel Pretty
Amy Schumer‘s latest comedy project has attracted an Oscar nominee. Deadline reported this week that Michelle Williams, who was nommed this year for Manchester by the Sea, will star alongside Schumer in I Feel Pretty. Williams will play the cosmetics company boss who gains a newfound respect for Schumer’s employee when a bump on the head leads her to believe she has become suddenly gorgeous.
The premise for I Feel Pretty sounds utterly bizarre and pretty much tailor made for Schumer’s own style of comedy. Williams is the kind of star who can add real gravitas to the cast in a role that will hopefully allow her to have more fun usual. There’s very little currently known about this film, but it sounds like it could be a very interesting comedy.
Voldemort fan film gets Warner Bros go-ahead
Last year, a group of Harry Potter fans took to Kickstarter with an unofficial project that would be an origin story for Lord Voldemort. Warner Bros stepped in and the fundraising campaign was taken down, but the directors told Polygon this week that Voldemort: Origins of the Heir will now push forward with the studio’s consent. Tryangle Films aims to have the movie, which follows something of a Hogwarts murder-mystery, finished by the end of this year. They appear to have gotten around the intellectual property dispute by releasing the film online for free.
It’s interesting to see something like this being made and even more intriguing to see that Warner Bros have given their blessing to the project. This may pave the way for other enthusiasts and fans to have a go at making their own unofficial films, utilising the characters and settings they love. I’m intrigued to see Origins of the Heir when it does arrive online. Hopefully they can find someone to match Ralph Fiennes.
Are you excited to see the new take on Murder on the Orient Express? Is Adam Wingard a good choice to helm monster smackdown Godzilla vs. Kong? Let me know in the comments section and come back next Sunday for another news round-up.