The Countdown

The week in film news

As the world just about recovers from Geostorm, it’s been a big week in geek. Both Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Justice League revealed new footage. Just under seven weeks before Episode VIII opens, Rian Johnson unveiled a sweet featurette about what it’s like to direct a Star Wars movie as a big fan (spoiler: it’s awesome). Eagle-eyed fans got a look at a “fathier”, a space horse, and maybe a glimpse of Benicio Del Toro’s DJ.

Justice League offered the first extensive look at antagonist Steppenwolf (not the seventies band). Warner Bros. also debuted the first music from the film by Danny Elfman — it’s subtle and gentle… no actually it’s bombastic and churning. In other DC news, Gareth Evans, director of the bone-crunching The Raid and its sequel, is in discussions to direct Deathstroke, perhaps the most blindingly obvious name for an assassin ever created.

Elsewhere. Shane Black’s The Predator, which has been pretty quiet up until now, released a new motion picture that forges a Predator image out of lightning. In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as Thor Ragnarok begins its world box office domination, Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel may have found her adversary. Ben Mendelsohn is in talks to play the to-be-confirmed baddie. Following his evil turns in Rogue One and the upcoming Ready Player One and Robin Hood, Mendelsohn practically qualifies for the FBI most wanted list.

As reverberations around the Harvey Weinstein allegations continue, Oscar watchers are still trying to figure out the ramifications of an awards season without the guile and clout of Miramax. The Oscar race intensified with the reveal of Paul Thomas Anderson’s Phantom Thread trailer. Set in the couture world of 1950s London, Daniel Day-Lewis stars as the ridiculously named Reynolds Woodcock, a superstar fashion designer whose carefully — hey! — tailored life is turned upside down when he meets a young woman (newcomer Vicky Krieps) who becomes his muse.

Reputedly Day-Lewis’ last film (aren’t they all?), Phantom Thread’s footage means there is little that is sight unseen this Oscar season; only Steven Spielberg’s The Post and Clint Eastwood’s The 15:17 To Paris are yet to show their hands.

Apt for a series that is always going on about “family”, director Justin Lin is returning to The Fast And Furious franchise. Lin is the director of the third, fourth, fifth and six instalments (prizes if you can name them) and looks set to direct the film’s final entries (nine and ten). Lin has been described by Vin Diesel as the “architect” and “forefather” as the series. He went missing in action from the series to direct Star Trek Beyond.

It has also been a big week for Netfilx. Season 2 of Stranger Things opened to strong reviews (its currently 93% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes) while Will Smith-Joel Edgerton cop-movie-with-a-twist Bright launched a full trailer. David Ayer’s film pitches a world where humans live alongside fantastical creatures, meaning that Smith’s human cop is paired with Edgerton’s Orc, the first Orc policeman. It looks like a David Ayer joint — the splashy visuals of Suicide Squad meets the grit of End Of Watch — with a hint of Alien Nation. Which is never a bad thing.