Director: Scott Derrickson.
Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Tilda Swinton, Chiwetel Ejiofor. USA 2016. 115 mins.
What if the reality we know is just one of many? Scott Derrickson and Sinister co-writer C. Robert Cargill get mystical as they bring one of Marvel Comics’ most idiosyncratic creations to the big screen.
Stephen Strange (Cumberbatch) is a gifted neurosurgeon who, after a car accident ends his career, embarks on a spiritual journey that leads him to the Ancient One (Swinton) and a secret world of magic and alternate dimensions. Here he discovers gifts of a very different kind – magical abilities and artefacts – and an array of sorcerous beings, including Baron Modor (Ejiofor) and Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelsen, The Hunt). They aren’t all a benevolent bunch, however, and Strange must harness his powers to defend the world from inter-dimensional threats. Cumberbatch adds another string to his bow in this refreshing superhero offering.
Contains moderate fantasy violence and injury detail.
Director: Mira Nair.
Starring: Lupita Nyong’o, David Oyelowo, Madina Nalwanga. South Africa/USA 2016. 124 mins.
Newcomer Madina Nalwanga stars in this fascinating and surprisingly tense account of ten-year-old Phiona Matesi’s journey from the Ugandan slums to international chess championships.
While selling corn in her home village, Phiona (Nalwanga) meets footballer-turned-missionary Robert Katende (Oyelowo, Selma, A Most Violent Year), who teaches chess to local children. Recognising her spirit and innate talent, Katende begins to mentor Phiona, teaming up with her impoverished mother (Nyong’o, 12 Years A Slave) to help her fulfil her potential.
Celebrated Indian director Mira Nair (Monsoon Wedding) was drawn to Phiona’s story after making a 2015 documentary about Katende. Aided by The Reluctant Fundamentalist scriptwriter William Wheeler, she has made a film that is as uplifting as it is revealing about life in one of Africa’s poorest countries.
Director: David Yates.
Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Ezra Miller, Colin Farrell. UK / USA 2016. TBC mins.
Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them is an all-new adventure returning us to the wizarding world created by J. K. Rowling.
Academy Award winner Eddie Redmayne (The Theory Of Everything) stars in the central role of wizarding world magizoologist Newt Scamander, under the direction of David Yates, who helmed the last four Harry Potter blockbusters.
Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them opens in 1926 as Newt Scamander has just completed a global excursion to find and document an extraordinary array of magical creatures. Arriving in New York for a brief stopover, he might have come and gone without incident were it not for a No-Maj (American for Muggle) named Jacob, a misplaced magical case, and the escape of some of Newt’s fantastic beasts, which could spell trouble for both the wizarding and No-Maj worlds.