On Monday, we were treated to the first teaser trailer for Peter Jackson-produced Mortal Engines adaptation – based on Philip Reeve’s book of the same name – which is set thousands of years in a post-apocalyptic environment, where cities have gone mobile to make the most of scattered resources. Mortal Engines rolls in December 14, 2018.
Paramount provided release dates for a bunch of new Hasbro-themed films later that day. A third G.I. Joe film will arrive March 27, 2020 despite the failure of past entries; a Micronauts movie on October 16, 2020; even Dungeons and Dragons is getting an adaptation on July 23, 2021; and an untitled film for October 1, 2021.
Tuesday brought us the first trailer for Ocean’s 8, the all-female spin-off of Ocean’s Trilogy from Steven Soderbergh. The title is justified by making Sandra Bullock play Ocean’s (George Clooney) sister, who forms her own team to pull off a heist at the annual Met Gala. The stellar ensemble includes Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Mindy Kaling, Sarah Paulson, Rihanna, Helena Bonham Carter, Damian Lewis, and James Corden, alongside a dozen cameo appearances. Ocean’s 8 is out June 8, 2018.
Netflix has tapped two new leads for its hit crime drama Narcos, in Diego Luna (Rogue One) and Michael Peña (Ant-Man), to replace Pedro Pascal for the fourth season of the show. The reason for that is Narcos’s move to Mexico, as anyone who’s caught up with the third season will know.
Andy Serkis’ version of The Jungle Book has been in production before Disney released its adaptation last year, and it has now been retitled from Jungle Book: Origins to Mowgli. Given it’s out just two years after the Jon Favreau-directed one – October 19, 2018 – Warner Bros. thought it best to change the name to not confuse audiences, and make this one feel new/different.
On Wednesday, a Bloomberg report revealed that a sequel for Will Smith-starrer Bright is already in the works at Netflix. That makes it the first film franchise at the streaming service, a curious choice given the overall negative reception for the fantasy buddy cop movie.
Lastly, Quentin Tarantino’s Star Trek movie has found a writer: Mark L. Smith (The Revenant). It’s an interesting choice, since Tarantino’s films – most of which he writes himself – are usually full of dialogue, and Smith’s Hollywood breakthrough came on a film that had very little of it.
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:
Game of Thrones
The seventh and penultimate year of HBO’s massive fantasy epic – based on characters created by George R.R. Martin, but now well ahead of his books – wasn’t quite able to live up to the storytelling finesse and ingenuity of previous years (owing to lacking GRRM’s word) but it easily delivered several huge moments fans had been waiting for, what with the amount of build-up we’ve had over six seasons.
[Spoiler alert] The end of the season finally saw the destruction of the Wall, with the White Walkers entering the land of the living, thanks to the power of undead-Viserion and the foolishness of… okay we’ve complained enough in the past. Elsewhere, characters continued to drop like flies, with some bloodlines close to being wiped out.
Game of Thrones season 7 was also the show’s first shortened run, with just seven episodes. With the final eighth season not due until 2019 by most reports, the Blu-ray release – which comes with a two-part featurette detailing the production design, a behind-the-scenes featurette for one of the season’s key moments, and audio commentary tracks – is a great way to revisit Game of Thrones.
Based on the Marvel comic series of the same name from writer Brian K. Vaughan and artist Adrian Alphona, Runaways is centred on six teenagers: Alex Wilder (Rhenzy Feliz), Nico Minoru (Lyrica Okano), Karolina Dean (Virginia Gardner), Gert Yorkes (Ariela Barer), Chase Stein (Gregg Sulkin), and Molly Hernandez (Allegra Acosta), who unite against their evil parents.
The parents – Catherine and Geoffrey Wilder (Angel Parker and Ryan Sands); Robert and Tina Minoru (James Yaegashi and Brittany Ishibashi); Dale and Stacey Yorkes (Kevin Weisman and Brigid Brannagh); Frank and Leslie Dean (Kip Pardue and Annie Wersching); and Janet and Victor Stein (Ever Carradine and James Marsters) – are part of a charity (read: cult-like) organisation called Pride.
Runaways premiered last month on Hulu and is now available on Amazon in India, with new episodes every week. In our review, we noted the show gives kids and parents equal time unlike the comics, though it faces an uphill task in introducing its ensemble cast of sixteen. If you haven’t read the comics, here’s a fun fact: there’s a dinosaur in the show.
How to access: Amazon Prime Video
Time commitment: 7 hours now, 1 hour weekly thereafter
Based on Stephen King’s over 1,000-page horror novel from three decades ago, It marked the book’s first big screen adaptation, after a TV mini-series in 1990. The film keeps the same story, with a group of seven children facing their biggest personal fears as they attempt to fight an evil clown named Pennywise (Bill Skarsgård), whom they simply refer to as ‘It’.
With children disappearing from the small town of Derry, Maine, and adults refusing to pay attention, the Losers’ Club – called so because they’re all bullied, and consisting of Bill (Jaeden Lieberher), Richie (Finn Wolfhard), Mike (Chosen Jacobs), Eddie (Jack Dylan Grazer), Ben (Jeremy Ray Taylor), Bev (Sophia Lillis), and Stan (Wyatt Oleff) – must take matters in their own hands.
Intended to be the first chapter in a duology, director Andres Muschietti’s work was labelled a largely faithful adaptation of King’s story. It’s got the usual jump-scares, though critics felt that it’s the child cast that powers the film, alongside an understanding of everyday evil.
The duo of Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal – the director and writer, respectively, of The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty – are behind this drama that focuses one of the events that took place during the summer 1967 race riots in the titular city. John Boyega (Star Wars: The Last Jedi) and Will Poulter (The Chronicles of Narnia) lead the cast.
Detroit also stars Anthony Mackie (Captain America: Civil War), Jack Reynor (Sing Street), Hannah Murray (Game of Thrones), Jason Mitchell (Straight Outta Compton), John Krasinski (The Office), Ben O'Toole, and Kaitlyn Dever. The film released in August in the US, but didn’t get much attention despite being critically acclaimed.
Rotten Tomatoes’ consensus reads: “Detroit delivers a gut-wrenching -- and essential -- dramatization of a tragic chapter from America's past that draws distressing parallels to the present.” The Blu-ray comes with a profile of the true story behind the film, a look at the cast, a comparison of the city’s past and present, and more.
This true story stars Jake Gyllenhaal as Jeff Bauman, who lost his legs at the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing while waiting for his ex-girlfriend Erin (Orphan Black’s Tatiana Maslany) at the finish line. Bauman helped identify one of the bombers, but the film focuses on the months of physical and emotional rehab that tested his family, and inspired the community.
Directed by David Gordon Green (Our Brand Is Crisis, Pineapple Express), Stronger is a tear-jerker of a film, but it sets aside the inspirational drama clichés thanks to brave writing, and outstanding performances from Gyllenhall, and the supporting cast of Miranda Richardson (Tom & Viv), Clancy Brown (The Shawshank Redemption), and Frankie Shaw (Mr. Robot, SMILF).
The film has been universally praised by critics, with a 93 percent fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The Atlantic’s David Sims said: “[It] shouldn't be dismissed as just another real-life drama to catch on cable TV someday; Stronger is a profound, sensitively made gem.”
All five existing seasons of the musical drama Nashville, which begins its sixth and final season in less than two weeks, are now available on Amazon Prime Video.
Meanwhile, Netflix added a few good movies this week: Danny Boyle’s British comedy Trainspotting, the true-story inspired Oscar-nominated Lion, and mock-jail psychology drama The Stanford Prison Experiment. Check out our December guide for more.
A hundred players parachute onto an island. The last one alive wins. This is the simple kernel of idea that has blown up since Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds – colloquially known as PUBG (pronounced pub-gee) – early access debut in March, driving it to the top of Steam charts in sales and most players in-game. And now, it’s finally arrived at v1.0.
Over the past nine months, the Korean development team – led by the vision of creative director Brendan Greene, who first thought of the idea with ARMA 2 – has been continuously tweaking the game with community feedback, be it gunplay, sound, animations, or server stability. The last of those has been paramount with the unanticipated traffic the game has seen.
You can play solo or in a team of four in PUBG, with each match starting in an area of 8x8km. As the match progresses – most rounds take less than 30 minutes – the playable area keeps shrinking to increase confrontation, in addition to random bombings and loot drops. Audience reception is heavily divided, so it’s up to you to decide.
How to access: Steam for PC
Time commitment: 30 minutes per round
Life is Strange: Before the Storm
Set three years before the events of BAFTA Award-winning Life is Strange, Before the Storm puts you in the shoes of 16-year-old Chloe Price, a rebel who forms an unlikely friendship with Rachel Amber after meeting her at a concert in an old mill. While the game retains the episodic graphic adventure nature, there’s no time travel because Max Caulfield is not part of the story.
But developer Deck Nine – taking over from Dontnod which is busy with role-playing title Vampyr – has given Rachel some supernatural powers of her own. Chloe’s abilities include “Backtalk”, which you can use to get out of situations, though it can have an undesired negative effect. The dialogue tree makes a return, and your decisions will affect outcomes.
The last of three episodes – titled ‘Hell is Empty’ – released earlier this week. Like past episodes, it was received favourably by reviewers, terming it a lovely story that treats its secondary characters properly, and the perfect payoff for the first two episodes. All that’s left now is a bonus episode that will feature a young version of Max.
L.A. Noire: The VR Case Files, featuring seven cases specially rebuilt for virtual reality, is now available for HTC Vive. Rockstar says it “adds new layers of immersion and realism”, with the cases spanning mysteries from the Detective desks of Traffic, Arson, Homicide, and more.
Bridge Constructor Portal, a game set in the former (Bridge Constructor) with elements borrowed from the latter (Portal), is now available on Android, iOS, and PC (Windows, macOS, and Linux), with versions for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One coming next year.