Director: Paul King.
Starring: Ben Wishaw, Sally Hawkins, Hugh Bonneville, Julie Walters, Jim Broadbent, Peter Capaldi. UK/France 2017. 103 mins.
The wholehearted, accident-prone bear from deepest, darkest Peru returns with a second helping of his endearing brand of good-natured mischief. Happily settled in Windsor Gardens, Paddington takes on a variety of odd jobs to raise enough money to buy a very special book for his beloved Aunt Lucy’s 100th birthday. But when the precious book is stolen, Paddington and the Browns have to track down the culprit. Ben Wishaw again voices the lovable if hapless furry character, while Hugh Bonneville and Sally Hawkins reprise their roles as his surrogate parents, Mr and Mrs Brown. Director/co-writer Paul King returns to ensure consistent appeal, and even adds some new characters to the fun, including Hugh Grant as a vain, fading actor and Brendan Gleeson’s fearsome safecracker.
Directors: Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris.
Starring: Emma Stone, Steve Carell, Andrea Riseborough, Elisabeth Shue. UK/USA 2017. 121 mins.
In the wake of the sexual revolution and the rise of the women’s movement, the 1973 tennis match between women’s world champion Billie Jean King (Stone) and former men’s number one and serial hustler Bobby Riggs (Carell) became one of the most watched televised sports events of all time. As their rivalry intensified in the media glare, both King and Riggs fought complex battles in their private lives: while she championed equality, the fiercely private King struggled to come to terms with her sexuality; at the same time, Riggs wrestled with his gambling demons at the expense of his family. Together, they served up a cultural spectacle that resonated far beyond the tennis court, sparking discussions that continue to reverberate today.
Director: Yorgos Lanthimos.
Starring: Colin Farrell, Nicole Kidman, Barry Keoghan. UK/Ireland 2017. 121 mins.
Black humour, horror and classical tragedy collide in the second English-language feature from absurdist Greek auteur Yorgos Lanthimos (The Lobster). Colin Farrell stars as Steven, a successful cardiac surgeon who enjoys a happy, healthy and affluent life in suburbia with his wife (Kidman) and two children. When he befriends a young man (Keoghan, Dunkirk) and takes him under his wing, a fatal mistake he once made on the operating table comes back to haunt him and his family in terrifying fashion. Inspired by the Greek myth of King Agamemnon, who was ordered to sacrifice his daughter after accidentally killing a sacred deer, Lanthimos’s enthralling, darkly comic horror unfolds with a carefully crafted sense of unease, and features excellent performances from its three leads.
Director: Rian Johnson. Starring: Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac. USA 2017. TBC mins.
How do you follow The Force Awakens – a film that raked in two billion dollars at the box office and made the world fall in love with Star Wars all over again? That’s the mammoth task in the charge of The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson (Looper), who has lined up an epic adventure that challenges heroes old and new and delves deep into the mythology of the Force. Plot details are scarce, but the late Carrie Fisher plays a major role, and Kelly Marie Tran, Laura Dern and Benicio del Toro join the cast. The film’s beating heart, however, is the relationship between Rey and Luke. Rey finally comes face to face with the Jedi master on the island of Ahch-To, but he’s not the man she was expecting to find.