Northman, John Wick, Cats: Weekly Round Up

Northman, John Wick, Cats: Weekly Round Up

Northman, John Wick, Cats: Weekly Round Up. Did we all have a good Christmas? I did, and the usual Christmas films all made their appearance. I started an argument over The Grinch (I’m not convinced it’s all that good outside of Carrey’s performance) and got some excellent new blu-rays, including Arrow’s new release of The Exorcist III, which… well, that’s prime seasonal viewing right there.

As we leave 2019 behind we find ourselves short on movie news, other than the slighty strange development surrounding Tom Hooper’s Cats, in which Universal started sending out new DCP’s of the movie with updated visual effects. The idea of a studio tinkering with a movie post-release, at least outside of Special Editions and George Lucas, is practically unheard of, so it’s worth mentioning.

Not that the tinkering is going to help the movie at all, mind you. Cats is… well, you can read my review and made your own mind up if you want.



Anyway, the point is, rather than take a look at the previous weeks events, of which there are very few, I thought we’d take a look at what I consider some of the highlights, news wise, of the year, and get ourselves all excited for what we’ve got coming up in 2020.

So, first things first, let’s talk about Matt Reeves’ The Batman.

For all the pretty cool sounding movies coming out next year, there’s only one superhero film that looks set to be worth our time, and it comes in the form of director Matt Reeves’ take on the Dark Knight. Reeves is perhaps best known for Cloverfield, although he was also the guy behind the actually pretty good Let the Right One In remake, Let Me In.

He’s got an interesting visual style, and one can imagine he’ll bring a lot of interesting stuff to the world of Gotham. Some of that interesting stuff he’s bringing had already been announced, because The Batman has one hell of an intriguing cast list. The first casting announcement came in May, with the news that Robert Pattinson will be donning the cowl to fight crime.

Pattison is also appearing in next years Tenet, directed, almost ironically, by Christopher Nolan, the man responsible for what many consider the definitive big screen version of Batman.

The Lighthouse star’s casting was met with some negativity from the corners of the internet who haven’t watched movies since Twilight, but for everyone else Pattinson taking the role was a somewhat tantalizing prospect, though Pattinson doesn’t give a shit, and nor should he, especially since the actor has been getting rave reviews for his performances in both High Life and The Lighthouse.

Speaking of Robert Eggers, the auteur indie director behind both The Witch and The Lighthouse announced this year that he’ll be following up his one/two hit of those instant classics with what is being described as a Viking revenger drama.

The Northman, as it’s being called, will re-unite Eggers with The Witch star Anya Taylor-Joy and The Lighthouse star Willem Dafoe, while Alexander Skarsgard also joined the cast. And if that hasn’t got you keen then we can’t be friends.

Anya Taylor-Joy also bagged herself a role in what is possibly my most anticipated movie of next year, Edgar Wright’s upcoming psychological horror Last Night in Soho. Plot details and information on this one are thin on the ground, but we do know that Wright has cited both Nicholas Roeg’s cult classic Don’t Look Now and Roman Polanski’s psychological thriller Repulsion as key influences.

Back to The Batman, though, and after Pattinson’s confirmation the cast only got weirder, and more intriguing, from that point on. We learned Jeffrey Wright would be taking on the role of Commissioner Gordan, while Paul Dano, Zoe Kravitz and Colin Farrel were cast as The Riddler, Catwoman and The Penguin respectively. Andy Serkis also joined the cast as Bruce Wayne’s loyal butler, Alfred.

With a cast list that spectacular, it’s hard not to consider The Batman one of the big hitters of next year. I know I, for one, am very much looking forward to it. Even if Warner Bros. did announce they might give the villains their own solo-outings at some point, thus proving they have learned no lessons from the Zack Snyder years.

Another franchise that, perhaps less expectedly, got confirmation of its own Cinematic Universe this year was the Keanu Reeves starring John Wick. The third installment of the John Wick series, Parabellum, was released earlier this year, and I am happy to announce I consider it the best.

But news of the franchise over 2019 was focused predominantly on the fact that we’ll be seeing a few spin-offs appearing, the first of which will be the female-centric Ballerina. The film will focus on the character played by Unity Phelan, who was briefly seen in Parabellum, although it’s likely a different actor will take on the role for the film.

Perhaps most bafflingly, though, was the decision to give the project to Len Wiseman, rather than to a female director. Quite why Lionsgate decided to make this choice I don’t know, it’s not like there aren’t plenty of capable women working in Hollywood who could more than deliver on this premise. But, none the less, here we are, heading into 2020 with a yet more evidence that, when it comes to filmmaking, women still aren’t getting those opportunities.

There’s plenty to look forward to moving into the new year, though. We’ve got yet more of our beloved Keanu in threequel Bill and Ted Face the Music, directed by Galaxy Quest’s Dean Parisot, which should have you really squealing for joy, while we’ve also got a rather fascinating project coming from director Guillermo del Toro in the form of Nightmare Alley, which stars Bradley Cooper, Toni Collette, Rooney Mara, Willem Dafoe and Cate Blanchett.

I’m sure the year will be filled with plenty of big blockbusters from the likes of Disney (after all, they own almost everything at this point anyway), but if 2019 is anything to go by we’ll have plenty of interesting original work coming our way too. Fingers crossed we get more excellent work, and a little less political depression, eh?

I hope you guys all have a wonderful new year, I certainly will. See you on the other side.


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Alex Secker is a writer/director/editor. His debut feature film, the micro-budget thriller Follow the Crows, won Best Independent Film at the Global Film Festival Awards, while his stage-play, The Door, won the People’s Choice Award at the 2017 Swinge Festival.

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