DVD Reviews

Film 2016: Part 2

Our film tour of 2016 continues below- get hyped for the summer’s biggest releases and find some books and films to tide you over until then! If you’re looking for films due to be released from January to June 2016, check out our earlier blog post here.

July

Disney, Steven Spielberg and Roald Dahl…did you ever hear of a sweeter combination? The BFG, also known as the Big Friendly Giant, was dedicated to Dahl’s granddaughter Sophie, now a children’s author in her own right. Sophie’s namesake is an orphan who gets carried off when she spots a robed figure peering through her window at night… The BFG, voiced by Mark Rylance, is a sensitive soul quite unlike the other giants, who gleefully chow down on unsuspecting children. Together with Sophie, he plans to stop the giants once and for all. Many of Roald Dahl’s books have been made into films, with varying degrees of success- read about The Witches and Willy Wonka here. You can find classics like The Twits, Revolting Rhymes and Esio Trot in our QUICK READS section, where The BFG himself resides.

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The BFG is a vegetarian, forced to subsist on disgusting Snozzcumbers. This replica Snozzcumber was made from a cucumber, sesame seeds, popcorn…and something pink!

Disney’s The Good Dinosaur asked, what if the meteor that supposedly killed the dinosaurs completely bypassed Earth? Ice Age: Collision Course blames the demise of the dinosaurs on sabre-toothed squirrel-rat Scrat. Posters for the movie feature Scrat in a spacesuit, and borrow The Martian’s tagline “Bring Him Home”- but details are scarce. Who built the spacesuit? Who allowed a “squirrel-rat” on board a spacecraft? Did Ice Age humans really have access to space travel? HAS SCRAT FOUND THAT ACORN YET?! The previous Ice Age movies are available to borrow from the DVD LOBBY, as well as a host of disaster movies.

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As you can see, Scrat does not look much like your typical astronaut.

The story of Tarzan- a man raised by apes who falls in love with Edwardian explorer Jane- has existed on film ever since the first silent movies. The classic tale of romance and daring-do is coming back to cinemas in 2016, but it won’t be yet another origin story. The Disney version ends with Jane and Tarzan swinging off towards a happy ending, but in Edgar Rice Burrough’s novel, Jane returns to England to marry a man with high social status. Tarzan joins her after he is found to be heir to an empire- but it’s too late. The 2016 movie will begin here, with Tarzan adjusting to life in industrial England, but he won’t ignore the call of the wild for long…. The first trailer for Legend of Tarzan features Alexander Skarsgard (True Blood, Battleship) mostly naked. We will have to wait to see if Legend… lives up to its pulp fiction origins. See Skarsgard act alongside his father in Lars Von Trier’s Melancholia (DVD LOBBY), a fraught film about depression and mutual destruction.

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If Legend… gets a sequel, we want to see some mermaids!

JJ Abrams is busy over at Star Wars HQ, so Star Trek will return next year with a new director. Details have yet to be released, but we know that this instalment (titled Star Trek: Beyond) features a script by Simon Pegg, the man behind Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. Pegg also appears on screen as Scotty, the Enterprise’s Chief Engineer, who cannae defy the laws of physics. Idris Elba is set to play the villain (as yet unnamed), following on from fellow Englishman Benedict Cumberbatch. Other stars include Zoe Saldana, who plays space assassin Gamora in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, and Chris Pine, who will play Steve Trevor in the upcoming Wonder Woman movie. Find the first two films in the rebooted Star Trek franchise in the DVD LOBBY.  

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Star Trek: Beyond is set to be a summer blockbuster, but we approve of this decidedly geeky Christmas tree

August

Russian director Timur Bekmambetov is famous for stylish action sequences and artfully-constructed alternate universes- his three biggest movies, Wanted, Night Watch and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter are all based on books or graphic novels. In 2016 he will take on the legend of Judah Ben-Hur, a Jewish prince condemned to slavery by his manipulative Roman friend. The most famous version of Ben-Hur, from 1959, set the benchmark for “epic” movies with its 4 hour running time. We hope the new version is shorter, and kinder to both animals and stuntmen! Ben-Hur will be played by Jack Huston, one of the romantic leads in February’s Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Jesus himself makes an appearance, played by Brazilian actor Rodrigo Santoro. If you prefer physical effects to CGI we highly recommend the 1959 version, which features chariot races and warship battles at sea. Find it in the DVD LOBBY.

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Ben-Hur surpassed its pulp fiction origins and became a classic, thanks in part to elaborate physical effects

As if Batman V Superman wasn’t dark enough… in August DC brings out the Suicide Squad, an ensemble film with a villainous streak. The Joker, Harley Quinn, Deadshot, Killer Croc and other DC baddies band together to carry out government missions with a very high risk of failure (hence “suicide”) Model turned actress Cara Delevingne will play Enchantress, though it’s not clear if she will be a member of the Squad or one of their enemies. Footage from Suicide Squad was leaked at this year’s Comic-Con, and most of the press attention has focussed on Jared Leto, who appears in costume as the Joker with multiple tattoos and a silver grill. Will his performance rival Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight? Batman: The Killing Joke by legendary comic writer Alan Moore offers up one version of the Joker’s back story- find it in the BOOK ZONE 741.5973 MOO.

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Fans are already replicating the costumes seen on Jared Leto’s Joker and Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn

September

Rene Zellweger returns next year in Bridget Jones’s Baby, which finished filming just two days ago. Rene has been seen filming alongside Colin Firth’s Mark Darcy and new co-star Patrick Dempsy. Does this mean Mark is not the father of Bridget’s baby? Once again, plot details are scarce, but hapless Bridget seems to court high drama! The two previous films in the Bridget Jones series were penned by author Helen Fielding, but …Baby is supposedly very different from her last novel (which- SPOILER- features the death of Mark Darcy) A stage version of the first instalment starring Sheridan Smith is also opening this year in London’s West End. Read our review of Bridget’s first diary here, then check out the movies from the DVD LOBBY.

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This bench commemorating Helen Fielding’s series was installed near St Paul’s Cathedral

October

It wasn’t going to be long before the bestselling novel of 2015 made it onto screens. The Girl on the Train by English author Paula Hawkins will star Emily Blunt as Rachael, a lonely woman who creates elaborate stories based on the people she sees from the window of her commuter train. When she wakes up from an alcohol blackout covered in blood, only to hear that the woman she watches so closely is missing, Rachael takes it upon herself to investigate and possibly clear her name. Films based on bestsellers aren’t always sure-fire hits- The Da Vinci Code made over $750 million worldwide, while Before I Go To Sleep took only $15 million. This film still looks to be a thrilling ride!

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Emily Blunt has been cast as Rachael in the upcoming adaptation of The Girl on the Train

Patrick Ness is not only a phenomenal author- his Twitter campaign raised over £500,000 for refugees this winter. His novella A Monster Calls was based on a concept by his friend and author Siobhan Dowd, who died from breast cancer in 2007. In it, a boy called Connor summons a monster at seven minutes past midnight- the monster offers him three stories in exchange for his own, a sad tale (since Connor’s mother is also dying from terminal cancer) A Monster Calls is accompanied by haunting sketches from artist Jim Kay, who has just illustrated Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. It is unclear how these will translate to film, though there is a glimpse of the monster in the first trailer, released earlier this month. Voiced by Liam Neeson, he resembles an Ent, or Groot, with more than a hint of BFG. Will he comfort Connor, or inspire some monstrous behaviour? Patrick Ness’ incredible Chaos Walking trilogy is available to borrow from our EXPRESS FICTION section. Hear more of Liam Neeson’s powerful voice work in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, available in the BOOK ZONE 823.91 LEW

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How will the illustrations in A Monster Calls appear on screen?

November

Potter fans may have mourned the release of Deathly Hallows part 2, but thanks to J K Rowling, the saga isn’t over yet! Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them began life as a spoof non-fiction book sold for £1 to raise money for Comic Relief- the film (starring award-winner Eddie Redmayne as author Newt Scamander) is set in wizarding New York, around seventy years before Harry Potter was born. If you ever wondered what life was like outside Hogwarts, and what part wizards had to play in world events, then this is a must-see. The trailer, which debuted last week, shows Newt opening a suitcase containing unseen, snarling magical creatures. J K Rowling has released a few more snippets via her Twitter account, which mostly concern the differences between Downton Abbey-style Brits and Prohibition-era New Yorkers. For example, “muggles” (or non-magical people) are otherwise known as “no-maj”! 2016 is a big year for Potter fans, with another original story hitting the London stage- Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is a play in two parts, in which youngest Potter Albus Severus struggles to live up to his father’s legacy. Find the entire Harry Potter series in print, on film and on audio in the BOOK ZONE 823.91 ROW.

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Fantastic Beasts… was originally sold for £1, with proceeds going to Comic Relief (that might explain the added scribbles, courtesy of a certain R Weasley)

Disney’s Brave and Frozen were huge successes thanks to their excellent female leads. Moana is the name of the first Polynesian Disney Princess, who teams up with demi-God Maui to find a lost Pacific island. Maui is a trickster God who convinced his brothers to haul the Hawaiian islands out of the sea. He will be voiced by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who is native to Samoa (it’s likely that Maui, who is also larger-than-life, will sport some similar tattoos) The film will be directed by Ron Clements and John Musker, who brought us the first Black Disney Princess, Tiana, in The Princess and the Frog (DVD LOBBY). Written by native New Zealander Taika Waititi (who co-wrote, co-directed and starred in What We Do in the Shadows), Moana is on course to be the funniest Disney film yet. Get to grips with Polynesian humour in Eagle Versus Shark and Flight of the Conchords (DVD LOBBY) and trace the history of Disney Princesses in Drawn to Life: Twenty Golden Years of Disney Classics (BOOK ZONE 741.58 STA)

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Concept art for Moana has already been released online- we think it looks stunning!

December

On Christmas Day 2016, Tim Burton will release his adaptation of Ransom Riggs’ Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, which was the New York Times’ bestselling children’s book for a total of 45 weeks! In a story which seems destined for Tim Burton, teenager Jacob travels to an isolated orphanage to hunt the fictional creature that killed his Grandpa Abe. He follows the ghostly Emma back in time to 1940, when Miss Peregrine trapped her “peculiars”- children with powers like invisibility, telepathy and super-strength- in an endless time loop. There, the children are safe from both the bombs that hit the orphanage in World War Two, and the monsters- failed peculiar experiments called Hollowghasts- that hunt them. But they are doomed to repeat the same day over and over, never aging- does Jacob hold the key to their release? The novel features a number of black-and-white photographs supposedly found in antique shops and jumble sales, depicting children performing various feats like levitation. Creepy! This looks to be an excellent fantasy movie, whether you choose to believe it or not!

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Ransom Riggs’ novel contains “unexplained” photos of levitating, invisible and otherwise peculiar children

There’s a whole year to wait till we return to the Star Wars universe! Rogue One, out next December, is the first Star Wars movie to feature characters other than Luke, Leia, Han and their families- set between the third movie, Revenge of the Sith, and the original Star Wars: A New Hope, it will tell the story of a brave group of pilots who steal the plans for the Death Star for the Rebel Alliance. The cast includes British actors Felicity Jones and Riz Ahmed, alongside actors from Australia, China, Hong Kong, Mexico and Denmark. Horror legend Peter Cushing will be resurrected via CGI and return as Grand Moff Tarkin, the imperial commander who destroyed Leia’s home planet Alderaan. Rogue One is the first in a series of standalone movies that Disney have planned to release in the next few years- the next instalments are rumoured to feature a young Han Solo and young Boba Fett. We’ll be watching the skies for further news!

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Rogue One is currently shrouded in secrecy, so have these Star Wars pancakes to tide you over.

The Assassin’s Creed series has been tipped for a movie adaptation since the release of the first game in 2007, but the announcement that Irish actor Michael Fassbender was to play assassin Altair Ibn-La’Ahad caused considerable controversy. It’s since been announced that Fassbender will not play an Arabic character, but a new assassin based in 15th Century Spain. Fassbender will reunite with MacBeth co-star Marion Cottillard and director Justin Kurzel in what looks to be a stylish, violent historical epic. Other games in the AC series are set in Industrial London, Colonial America and Revolutionary France, so there is potential for similarly elaborate sequels or spin-offs (the creators have only ruled out World War II, possibly in reference to the vast number of games like Call of Duty that already make light of recent conflicts) Movies based on video games often fail to make an impact, but some, like Silent Hill and Resident Evil, are solid action movies with strong female leads.

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We look forward to seeing some of this beautiful scenery on screen in 2016

If none of our recommendations take your fancy, speak to a member of staff at the Issue Desk- we  love to hear your suggestions for future reviews!

References

Rakka Snozzcumber accessed at https://flic.kr/p/at7Nio on 17/12/2015

Abegglen, M Scrat accessed at https://flic.kr/p/58zivA on 17/12/2015

Simpson, T Tarzan and the Mermaids (1948) accessed at https://flic.kr/p/Bf5THy on 10/12/2015

Hancock, JD USS Enterprise-A On The Star Trek Christmas Tree 2012 accessed at https://flic.kr/p/dMR9FC on 10/12/2015

Williams, G Ben-Hur by Lew Wallace accessed at https://flic.kr/p/eFnXnt on 10/12/2015

V Threepio Comikaze 2015 accessed at https://flic.kr/p/AFeFJj on 10/12/2015

Pettitt, M Book Benches, Bridget Jones Diary accessed at https://flic.kr/p/nYahGH on 10/12/2015

Skidmore, G Emily Blunt accessed at https://flic.kr/p/ffT93j on 10/12/2015

prettybooks A Monster Calls accessed at https://flic.kr/p/9YMBLZ on 10/12/2015

Feliciano, E Fantastic Beasts & Where To Find Them accessed at https://flic.kr/p/oevizy on 10/12/2015

Domenico MOANA accessed at https://flic.kr/p/pKZm4o on 10/12/2015

Sasha ЯR Miss Peregrines’s Home for Peculiar Children accessed at https://flic.kr/p/e5o4Kh on 10/12/2015

Lin, J Pancakes x Star Wars accessed at https://flic.kr/p/dVbtK9 on 10/12/2015

cea + Assassin’s Creed Venice accessed at https://flic.kr/p/8t636y on 10/12/2015

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