The following video contains massive spoilers for The Meg.
There have been plenty of surprises at the box office throughout 2018. That chap from The Office grew a beard to direct and star in A Quiet Place; Black Panther made all the money, Jamie Lee Curtis’ return to Halloween has broken records left right and centre. All these and more provided unexpected blockbusters, but for me, the biggest surprise of the year was the $526 million response to The Meg. For a movie with a $140 million production budget, the odds were stacked against The Meg that it could yield a profit, or break even. Early reports had a US opening of $20 million, but a smart and reactive marketing campaign helped to more than double that early estimate to more than $45 million. Chomp on that!
Jason Statham vs a Prehistoric shark was the fast sell, and the tongue in cheek marketing sold The Meg as a knowingly silly end of summer treat. I was a bit disappointed that The Meg wasn’t sillier, or more knowing, but thanks for its blockbuster takings a sequel is in development. There is a strong case to be made that expectations for Jason Statham vs a Prehistoric Shark shouldn’t be very high in the first place. I make no apology for enjoying a good bad shark movie, and The Meg was pretty good bad good.
Screen Junkies are back with their latest Honest Trailer, and it just so happens to be on The Meg. Naturally, there are spoilers aplenty in the video below, so consider yourself warned.
The Meg is released on DVD, Blu-ray, and HD Download on December 10.
A Series of Unfortunate Events is returning in the new year for a third and final season that brings the Baudelaire orphans’ quest to an end if they can outwit the evil Count Olaf (Neil Patrick Harris).
Season three will adapt the final four books The Slippery Slope, The Grim Grotto, The Penultimate Peril will take the now traditional two episodes per book route. However, the final book, The End, will be adapted into one extended episode, it remains unclear how long it will be, but expect a feature-length farewell. The first teaser for the final season has been released which also reveals the much sooner than expected launch date of January 1st, 2019. Well, that’s the New Year’s Day viewing taken care of in one fiendish swoop.
Based on the internationally best selling series of books by Lemony Snicket (aka Daniel Handler), season two of the Netflix original series plunges further into the epic world of this darkly comedic mystery. Executive produced by Emmy Award-winner Barry Sonnenfeld and Daniel Handler – the new season of A Series of Unfortunate Events consists of ten cinematic one-hour episodes, and premieres worldwide spring 2018, exclusively on Netflix. Starring Emmy and Tony Award-winner Neil Patrick Harris, A Series of Unfortunate Events recounts the tragic tale of the Baudelaire orphans – Violet, Klaus, and Sunny – and their extraordinary encounters with the devious Count Olaf who will stop at nothing to get his hands on their inheritance. Foiling his many dastardly plans and disguises, the young siblings discover clues to their parents’ mysterious death, links to a covert organisation, and begin to unlock long-held family secrets.
Joining the cast for the final season is Richard E. Grant, Max Greenfield, and Peter MacNicol. The final season A Series of Unfortunate Events season 3 arrives on January 1, 2019, on Netflix.
The terrifying alternate reality of the Upside Down collides with sleepy Hawkins, Indiana in the acclaimed TV show Stranger Things. Complete with ‘80s synths and plenty of supernatural goings, the much-loved series blends horror and science fiction with plenty of nods to the classic films of Steven Spielberg and John Carpenter. Throw in a charismatic young cast and some heart-wrenching human drama and you have a modern classic that has captured the hearts of old and young alike.
The show has been a critical and commercial success, pulling in legions of devoted fans and influencing a swathe of retro horror and sci-fi titles that make you nostalgic for those long hot summer holidays. And as we eagerly await the show’s highly anticipated new season here are six must see TV and film titles to watch before returning to Hawkins.
The OA (2016-present)
If you’re looking for a binge-worthy blend of the supernatural, sci-fi and fantasy then your best bet is The OA, a show that debuted the same year as Stranger Things. The story focuses on a blind young woman called Prairie (played by Brit Marling) who turns up after being missing for seven years. On her return she calls herself ‘The OA’, she is now not blind and her back is covered in scars. The show blends mystery with the supernatural and science fiction leading to plenty of comparisons with Stranger Things on release. Indeed, in episode four of the first season, one character can be seen watching Stranger Things TV.
Only eight episodes were released in the first season, but fans can rest assured that a return is coming with Marling reprising her role as Prairie. For a tense story packed with human drama and supernatural goings on, look no further than The OA.
If you have a fear of clowns, then IT is probably the reason why. Andy Muschietti’s horror blockbuster is an adaptation of Stephen King’s classic novel, which was made into a two-part 1990 TV movie that likely freaked you out as a child. It tells the story of an evil supernatural clown that terrorises a small American town where children regularly go missing. Enter a group of headstrong young’uns who muscle up the courage to take him on.
The new IT broke box office records becoming the highest- grossing horror film of all time, with a whopping $700m dollars worldwide. Horror hounds will get a hit of nostalgia, and new fans will be drawn to the excellent young cast, including Finn Wolfhard of Stranger Things fame. Everyone who watches it will be impressed with some very scary scenes and imagery. And it has a definite Stranger Things feel too. So whether you’re after a dose of nostalgia or you just can’t get enough of scary clowns, IT is the film for you.
Dark debuted on 1st December 2017, and it was Netflix’s first foray into German- language original programming. The compelling show centres on the disappearance of children in a small German town told across three different years; 1953, 1986 and 2019. And naturally, these three time periods are linked together via a time travel portal! Much like The OA, the show has drawn comparisons with Stranger Things for its focus on child stars and sci-fi elements. But Dark (as the name suggests) is a much darker piece of storytelling that echoes the weird world of David Lynch’s Twin Peaks just as much as that of Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment. Although the story is complex (with the three time periods) Dark spins an engrossing yarn that will have you bingeing on it’s episodes late into the night.
Super Dark Times (2017)
Time to get even darker. Super Dark Times tells the story of a group of teenagers who’s lives are turned upside down after the accidental and traumatic death of a friend. Super Dark Times keeps its foot firmly in the real world (no time travel or alternative realities here) but it’s got tonnes of nods to the 80s classics we all loved as kids and plenty of hilarious dialogue to make you a nostalgic for the heady days of your youth. The young cast are exceptional, both during the comedic first act and believable as the film hits its terrifying dramatic conclusion.
Super Dark Times is the directorial debut of Kevin Phillips and it has received widespread acclaim following a mega run on the film festival circuit. It’s now made its way to Netflix, so it can sit shoulder-to-shoulder with Stranger Things. For a gripping, tense and sometimes disturbing coming-of-age tale, fire-up your TV, search for Super Dark Times and hit play. You won’t be disappointed.
Summer of ’84 (2018)
Have you ever wondered what Stranger Things would be like crossed with a slasher film? Well then, Summer of ’84 is the flick for you. The film is about a group of kids of who come to believe that a serial killer is living across the road from them. But as we follow their attempt to track him down, what starts off a fun teen adventure swiftly takes a darker turn. The film premiered at Sundance in 2018 and is from RKSS, a three- person directing team from Canada who also made the awesome Turbo Kid back in 2015. In a scene that mirrors Karate Kid (a film released in the summer of 1984), the track ‘Cruel Summer’ by Bananarama plays while the kids ride their BMXs. Summer of ‘84 is chocked-full of 80s nostalgia and pumping synth tracks making it a perfect popcorn movie to watch in anticipation for the next series of Stranger Things.
What could be better to watch while waiting for your next trip to Hawkins than a new movie from the producers of Stranger Things? Kin tells the story of 14-year-old Eli (Myles Truitt) who lives in Detroit with his father Hal (Dennis Quaid). On the eve of his estranged brother Jimmy’s (Jack Reynor) return from prison, Eli breaks into an abandoned building site and stumbles upon the aftermath of an intense and strange shoot out. Shortly afterwards he finds a mysterious otherworldly weapon hidden amongst the rubble. Avoiding some intense drama brought on by his older brother the family hit the road but soon find that the (very cool) weapon brings an even more dangerous set of pursuers – and they may not be of this world. Kin is executive produced by Black Panther’s Michael B Jordan and is scored by the brilliant British experimental band Mogwai. If you’re looking for fun, fresh and star-studded 80s style sci-fi adventure, Kin is the film for you.
Kin is playing exclusively in Showcase Cinemas from 9th November & on Digital Download 12th November
Ahead of the fourth entry in a festive franchise that nobody expected to still be going after almost a decade. I thought it was time to give the third instalment of the Nativity series a go, for reasons that remain unclear as I wouldn’t call myself a fan of this homegrown film series.
All three of the Nativity movies have been made in support of Children In Need, a worthwhile cause that helps millions of at-risk Children every single year. I am all for supporting Children In Need, let me be clear about that. You can pledge money to this year’s fundraiser in a multitude of ways or via this BBC link. Now that I have attempted to make myself feel less like a monster, Nativity 3: Dude Where’s My Donkey was a creative low for the series that never had a high benchmark in terms of quality. The release of Nativity Rocks with a largely new cast might claim that title, but it will likely be a good few years before I get around to watching the latest instalment.
In keeping with the tradition of a new lead character in each movie, David Tennant has regenerated into the grumpier Martin Clunes. Riffing on his comfy chair and warm frothy soup persona as Doc Martin his role as teacher Jeremy Shepherd is not much of a stretch and even he has trouble staying awake. Prepare the cliche-o-meter, Jeremy loses him memory and forgets why he loves Christmas. As if that tawdry excuse for a plot wasn’t bad enough, the school nativity has lost its beloved donkey, and they need to find it pronto to save the show.
To their credit, the affable kids do their best with the largely improvised material, and I’m sure everybody had a jolly nice time making the movie, so it’s a shame none of that enjoyment translated to the end product. The improv gimmick might have worked okay first time round, less so second time and for the third go, some of the cast look uncomfortable with the free reign. Part of the problem with this lazy sequel is it doesn’t have the charms of Martin Freeman or David Tennant to fall back on. Martin Clunes might be edging towards national treasure status for some, but he can’t carry a feature film with his bedside manner. Only Catherine Tate walks away with a shred of dignity, but Marc Wooton’s unbearable Mr Poppy is dialled up to eleven, and his zany antics quickly become so irritating you’ll be willing those end credits to roll.
Had Nativity 3 been a TV special then you could look past its ‘that’ll do’ approach to filmmaking as nothing about this second sequel belongs on the big screen. Had it been on the telly at Christmas where it can be hazily watched after eating too much dinner, that puddingy sweet spot between half asleep and complete food coma. You nod off for ten minutes yet don’t feel you’ve missed anything important, you know they’ll be a singsong at the end so you slip back into dreamy potatoland for another little rest. That’s the place that Nativity 3 can be enjoyed, not enjoyed, tolerated.
I know that people watch movies (or content as you crazy kids are calling it) on their phones, but there isn’t a screen small enough to make Nativity feel like a cinematic experience. By all means support Children in Need, dress up, have a bath in beans, go on a fun run, bake a cake, but please stop making Nativity sequels. The forthcoming Nativity Rocks is in cinemas later this month if you’re so inclined to see it, or just give Children in Need a donation and save yourself 90 joyless minutes. That said, I just wasted 90 minutes watching Nativity 3, then wrote about it, there are no winners here.
Those clever folks over at Cinema Sins have finally turned their attention to the critically panned, but commercially successful remake of Clash of the Titans.
Like a fool, I was more hyped than I should have been for a glossy reboot of Clash of the Titans. Largely this was down to my love of the original 80s classic that was home to Ray Harryhausen’s beautiful stop-motion work. Naturally, no amount of CGI wizardry could replace my love of the original classic, but the timeless tale was due for a reimagining. My first clue that this movie was not going to live up to my modest expectations should have been the woeful tagline. Titans Will Clash exclaims the poster and trailer (as does an alternative The Clash Begins), for a movie called Clash of the Titans I think it is fair to assume that said Titans will be involved in some of Clash.
Starring Oak-based actor Sam Worthington (to his credit he acted his socks off in Manhunter) leads a star-studded cast in a movie so bad; it spawned a sequel that managed to be worse. Needless to say, Wrath of the Titans didn’t improve on the tagline front, Feel The Wrath was the best they could do for the sequel. Again, I already know to anticipate wrath, it’s in the title. Anyhoo, I’ll leave it to the experts at Cinema Sins to put the hurt on Clash of the Titans. Naturally, there are spoilers aplenty ahead, but there really wasn’t much to spoil in the first place.
A brand new extended look at Mortal Engines has arrived fully loaded with fresh footage. Based on the books by Philip Reeve, longtime Peter Jackson collaborator Christian Rivers makes his directorial debut with the ambitious adaptation.
Peter Jackson co-writes the script with his Lord of the Rings/Hobbit team of Fran Walsh & Philippa Boyens. The new trailer does a good job explaining the backstory, and the visuals are breathtaking. That said, I’ve not read the books so only have the trailers to go on. For a $100 million franchise starter, I keep forgetting that this film is a thing that is happening this year, but every time I see fresh footage I’m intrigued a little more.
Universal is hoping that they’ve got the next big fantasy franchise on their hands, so all eyes will be on its all-important opening weekend in December. If they want that to happen they need to kick the marketing machine into overdrive as there are just five weeks to go before release. Oh, and it has one week to bring in the cash before Disney’s Mary Poppins Returns takes ALL the available cinema screens.
Starring Hugo Weaving, Hera Hilmar, Robert Sheehan, Jihae, Ronan Raftery, Leila George, Patrick Malahide, and Stephen Lang, opens December 14, 2018.
Hundreds of years after civilisation was destroyed by a cataclysmic event, a mysterious young woman, Hester Shaw (Hera Hilmar), emerges as the only one who can stop London — now a giant, predator city on wheels — from devouring everything in its path. Feral, and fiercely driven by the memory of her mother, Hester joins forces with Tom Natsworthy (Robert Sheehan), an outcast from London, along with Anna Fang (Jihae), a dangerous outlaw with a bounty on her head.
After more than a year of calling Disney’s Untitled Streaming Service Disney’s Untitled Streaming Service, Disney’s Untitled Streaming Service finally has a name. For all the creativity floating around the service, the name is somewhat lacking with Disney + emerging as the winner. I still prefer the previously reported Disney Play.
Vulture TV reporter Josef Adalian broke the news, which for clarity has yet to be confirmed by Disney.
Disney+ will do what Netflix doesn’t: Its app will have microsites within it devoted to various brands: Star Wars, Marvel, Pixar, Nat Geo and Disney. And each of those brand sites will have different user interfaces. So: 5 services in 1?
— TVMoJoe (@TVMoJoe) November 8, 2018
Let’s be honest with ourselves, Netflix might have an endless supply of high-quality content, but its interface makes finding new things a tiresome task. Disney+ wants to stand out from Netflix in every way, and themed microsites is a fantastic start. Sadly, there is still no details on when Disney+ will be available internationally. The recently acquired by Hulu is being rolled out internationally early next year. Before Disney buying Hulu, the streaming service was only available in the US. Under Disney’s new ownership, Hulu will be aimed at more grown-up content that doesn’t fit into the Disney+ formula.
According to numerous outlets (including Slash Film), here’s what Disney+ will launch with and roll out over its first twelve months;
Star Wars: The Clone Wars Season 7: The Clone Wars animation series has been resurrected so it can get the conclusion that the epic story deserves.
The Mandalorian: Executive produced by Jon Favreau, the first live-action Star Wars series is set after the fall of the Empire and before the emergence of the First Order. We follow the travails of a lone gunfighter in the outer reaches of the galaxy far from the authority of the New Republic. Dave Filoni, Deborah Chow, Rick Famuyiwa, Bryce Dallas Howard, and Taika Waititi are directing episodes. With a reported budget of $100 million.
A second live-action Star Wars series, a spy thriller starring Diego Luna reprising his role as Cassian Andor from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
Shows based on Marvel Studios characters Loki, Scarlet Witch/Vision, and Falcon/Winter Soldier, with the respective movie actors returning to reprise their roles on the small screen.
High Fidelity: A television series re-imagining of the 2000 John Cusack comedy now told from a female point of view. The series will star Zoe Kravitz, whose mother, Lisa Bonet, had a significant role in the original film.
High School Musical: The Musical: A 10-episode docu-series based on the franchise starring Joshua Bassett in the lead role of Ricky.
Monsters, Inc.: A yet-to-be-titled animated series based on the popular Pixar franchise.
Mighty Ducks: Original Mighty Ducks screenwriter Steven Brill and original producer Jordan Kerner are developing the 1990s family sports franchise into a TV series.
Ink & Paint: An eight-episode documentary series based on the 2017 book telling the untold story of the often-overlooked female employees who contributed to the magic of Walt Disney’s animation empire.
That’s not all, Disney+ is currently in various stages of production on its first slate of exclusive films that include, Lady and the Tramp, Stargirl, Timmy Failure, and Togo. New versions of Three Men and a Baby, Don Quixote, Father of the Bride, Flora & Ulysses, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, The Paper Magician, The Parent Trap, Peter Pan, and The Sword in the Stone.
More on Disney+ as it becomes available ahead of its launch next year.
At the time of its release, Waterworld was the most expensive films ever made and incorrectly thought of as a major flop. In actuality, it’s a thrilling action-adventure featuring everything that makes a blockbuster great: star power, jaw-dropping sets and astounding special effects. With global warming and melting ice caps regularly in the news, the time is right to revisit Waterworld and its ecologically-minded story.
A wave of on-set problems, a highly publicised feud between Kevins Costner and Reynolds (the director), and a production budget that James Cameron would call “a tad much”. Waterworld was dubbed a flop before it hit cinemas. Unlike many moviegoers, I quite liked Mad Max on the ocean; there were flaws aplenty, but it was an enjoyable spin on the post-apocalyptic genre.
An extended (but censored) version of the film was shown on TV in America but has never officially been available in the UK. Until now. The new 3 Disc Limited Edition set contains the Theatrical Cut, The Extended TV Cut, and for the first time ever the fan edit aka the extended European “Ulysses” cut. The latter includes all censored material reinserted into the extended TV cut which is 40 minutes longer than the theatrical.
Arrow Films have restored all three versions of the film with a wealth of previously never before seen special features. The Waterworld Limited Edition Blu-ray is released on December 10th.
Three-Disc Limited Edition Contains
– Three cuts of the film newly restored from original film elements by Arrow Films
– Original 5.1 DTSHD Master Audio and 2.0 stereo audio options
– Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
– Six collector’s postcards
– Double-sided fold-out poster
-Limited edition 60-page perfect bound book featuring new writing on the film by David J. Moore and Daniel Griffith, and archival articles
– Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Paul Shipper