In an interview with Total Film, Solo: A Star Wars Story star Paul Bettany revealed that replacement director Ron Howard – who was hired after the original directors were fired – “reshot a lot more than was originally intended”. We saw how the conflicting visions impacted Justice League, so hopefully Howard has been able to smooth things out. The Han Solo film is out May 25, 2018.
Tuesday brought us the first English-language trailer for Studio Ponoc’s – the animation outfit created by ex-Ghibli employees – debut feature, Mary and the Witch’s Flower. Adapted from Mary Stewart’s 1971 children’s book The Little Broomstick, the film follows a young girl who picks a flower that grants magical flowers. It’s out January 18, 2018 in the US.
If you enjoy seeing how the virtual words in sci-fi blockbusters are created, you might like this behind-the-scenes look at the VFX for Blade Runner 2049, the critically-acclaimed follow-up to Ridley Scott’s 1982 original.
Scott was himself in the news for his comments regarding Blade Runner 2049 this week, putting down the film’s commercial disappointment to its overlong length and slow pacing. “[Blade Runner 2049] was f---ing way too long. F--- me! And most of that script’s mine,” he said.
Meanwhile, another well-known star – Mark Hamill – has regretted voicing his negative opinions about his character, Luke Skywalker, in The Last Jedi. “I regret voicing my doubts & insecurities in public,” Hamill tweeted. “Creative differences are a common element of any project but usually remain private. All I wanted was to make good movie. I got more than that — [Rian Johnson] made an all-time [sic] GREAT one!”
The film itself, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, has grossed nearly $900 million (about Rs. 5,750 crore) in global box office revenue. It’s shy of where The Force Awakens was at this stage ($1.2 billion), but that’s understandable given it was the first Star Wars movie in a long time, and the better competition to The Last Jedi in theatres.
That’s all the entertainment news for this week. Welcome back to The Weekend Chill, your one-stop destination for what to watch, play, or listen to this weekend. Here are the best picks:
Charlie Brooker’s sci-fi anthology series dropped its fourth set of episodes on Friday, which focus on a Star Trek alt-reality, a surveillance tech, a device to access memories, a new dating app, a post-apocalyptic world of killer robot dogs, and a compendium episode with three stories in one set in a museum. Brooker has written all but one episode by himself.
Directors include the likes of actress Jodie Foster, Toby Haynes (Doctor Who), Tim Van Patten (Boardwalk Empire), David Slade (American Gods), John Hillcoat (Lawless), and Colm McCarthy (Peaky Blinders). There aren’t many big-name stars in the new season, with Jesse Plemons, Rosemarie DeWitt, and Andrea Riseborough the highlights.
Reviews for Black Mirror season 4 have been available for a few weeks, including ours. We felt some episodes could have been shorter, but the themes it tackles by way of introducing new tech – power fantasy, privacy, helicopter parenting, addiction, and digital rights – in classic Black Mirror ways.
How to access: Netflix
Time commitment: 6 hours
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle
Making a standalone sequel to a frivolous movie seemed like a dumb idea on the surface – that’s what Hollywood loves, if we’re being honest – but the new Jumanji is proving to be a good idea for some. The film begins with four kids in detention: gamer Spencer, football jock Fridge, popular girl Bethany, and wallflower Martha.
When they come across a multiplayer game in the school’s basement, they end up getting sucked into it and literally become the avatars. Spencer turns into a tough, muscular adventurer (Dwayne Johnson), the jock turns into a short zoologist (Kevin Hart), the popular girl becomes an overweight, middle-aged professor (Jack Black), and Martha turns into a gorgeous, badass warrior (Karen Gillan).
The film uses the video-game excuse to give Gillan as less clothes as possible, but a charming cast and twist make up for it, say most critics. The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw called it “a likeable film which borrows liberally from everything and everyone”, and it’s 77 percent fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, but a middling 55 score on Metacritic. So it’s your call.
How to access: Out in cinema halls
Time commitment: 1 hour and 59 minutes
All the Money in the World
When director Ridley Scott said he’d replace Kevin Spacey – who was accused of multiple sexual assaults over the years – with Christopher Plummer, and still manage to hit the film’s December release date, it seemed far-fetched. But it’s here now, the story of J. Paul Getty (Plummer) refusing to pay the ransom for the abduction of his 16-year-old grandson in 1973.
For Getty, the issue wasn’t about money – he was a billionaire – but that it would encourage further kidnapping of his family members. The son’s mother Gail (Michelle Williams) attempts to convince and sway him as the captors turn brutal over the weeks, but he’s unmoved. She then works with his advisor (Mark Wahlberg) to secure his release.
All the Money in the World has been praised by most critics, noting the work of Plummer, and the gripping nature of the true story. LA Times’ Kenneth Turan concluded the film “benefits in much the same way that Scott's similar (and underappreciated) American Gangster did, from the director's expertise at bringing pace and interest to stories he cares enough about to sink his teeth into.”
How to access: Out in cinema halls
Time commitment: 2 hours and 12 minutes
The year’s most divisive film, owing to how the marketing differs from the product, the endless explanations delivered by director Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan), and the polarising ratings from critics, is a part Bible retelling and an allegory for climate change that presents itself as an R-rated version of Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree.
The premise, if there is a way to convey that, goes like this: a young woman’s easy-going life at a country home, where she spends her time painting and decorating the house, is disrupted by the arrival of a couple who are big fans of her author husband’s work. From there, it progresses in unimaginable ways, with scenes that are audacious, bizarre, and jaw-dropping.
Jennifer Lawrence stars as the woman, alongside Javier Bardem, Ed Harris, and Michelle Pfeiffer. It has been lauded as one of the best films and one of the worst, depending on who’s talking about it, so this is a movie you’ll need to see for yourself.
Facing Ali, the 2009 documentary from Pete McCormack which invites his rivals to speak about the top fighter and inspiring athlete, arrived earlier this week on Amazon Prime Video.
Meanwhile, Netflix added the second season of Canadian sci-fi Travelers and Spanish period drama Cable Girls this week, alongside a documentary on an alt-right film-maker whose paranoia led him to kill his family and himself in A Gray State.
Check out our December guide for more picks.