Mary Poppins Returns lead the new cinema releases December 21st 2018 to January 4th 2019

Mary Poppins Returns This time, there are NINE new films out for you to choose from, led by Mary Poppins Returns. Here are the titles, with more info below:

    Mary Poppins Returns
    Bird Box
    Holmes and Watson
    The Favourite
    Welcome To Marwen
    The 12th Man
    Life Itself
    Bumblebee (CENSORED)

Mary Poppins Returns and in Depression-era London, a now-grown Jane (Emily Mortimer) and Michael Banks (Ben Whishaw), along with Michael’s three children, are visited by the enigmatic Mary Poppins following a personal loss.

Through her unique magical skills, and with the aid of her friend Jack, she helps the family rediscover the joy and wonder missing in their lives.

Emily Blunt plays the titular heroine, and all in the same style as Julie Andrews did it way back when. I don’t know too much else about it than that and I’m quite glad as I only want to be told the story when I’m sat there in front of the screen.

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!

Bird Box is a new film that was giving me a zombie vibe for reasons you’ll see when you watch the trailer.

When a mysterious force decimates the world’s population, only one thing is certain: if you see it, you take your life.

Facing the unknown, Malorie (Sandra Bullock) finds love, hope and a new beginning only for it to unravel. Now she must flee with her two children down a treacherous river to the one place left that may offer sanctuary. But to survive, they’ll have to undertake the perilous two-day journey blindfolded.

Academy Award winner Sandra Bullock leads an all-star cast that includes Trevante Rhodes, Sarah Paulson, and John Malkovich, a compelling new thriller from Academy Award winner Susanne Bier (The Night Manager).

Check out our review!

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Read the review!

Papillon is based on the international best-selling autobiographic book of the same name, as well as “Banco”, and follows the epic story of Henri “Papillon” Charrière (Charlie Hunnam), a safecracker from the Parisian underworld who is framed for murder and condemned to life in the notorious penal colony on Devil’s Island. Determined to regain his freedom, he forms an unlikely alliance with quirky convicted counterfeiter Louis Dega (Rami MalekBohemian Rhapsody), who in exchange for protection, agrees to finance Papillon’s escape, ultimately resulting in a bond of lasting friendship.

I’ve still not seen the Steve McQueen original, even though it was repeated again recently on TV. It’s on my endless to-do pile, but now this is coming out, I think I’ll hang back on that for now.

Given that Daniel Craig is coming to an end for his tenure as James Bond, with the 25th film starting production in December 2018, and being slated for an October 2019 release, could Hunnam take over? He seems very Craig-like in this trailer.

Papillon is released on December 24th.

Director: Michael Noer
Screenplay: Aaron Guzikowski
Novel: Henri Charrière
Also stars: Tommy Flanagan, Eve Hewson, Roland Møller, Michael Socha, Christopher Fairbank, Brian Vernel, Nina Senicar, Nicholas Asbury, Ian Beattie

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!

Holmes and Watson is described as “a humorous take on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic mysteries featuring Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson”, and I have to ask that if that is the case, when why does it star Will Ferrell?

It also stars John C Reilly, and I’m NOT looking forward to this as much as I *am* looking forward to his January 2019 movie, Stan and Ollie.

Ralph Fiennes brings up the rear as Moriarty, with Pam Ferris as Queen Victoria.

Director Etan Cohen brought us 2015’s unforgettable…, sorry, forgettable, Get Hard, which I haven’t actually seen, but I wasn’t exactly clamouring to do so when I found out the film was one long joke about male rape. Oh, but can he make it up to us with the 2007 short film, My Wife Is Retarded? Unlikely.

Holmes and Watson is released in the UK on December 26th.

Also stars: Lauren Lapkus, Rebecca Hall, Kelly Macdonald, Hugh Laurie, Steve Coogan, Noah Jupe, Bella Ramsey, Rob Brydon, Bronson Webb, Kieran O’Brien, Michael Culkin

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Miss!

The Favourite is set in the early 18th century when a frail Queen Anne (Olivia Colman) is on the throne.

England is at war with the French, but nevertheless, duck racing and pineapple eating are thriving.

The Queen’s close friend Lady Sarah (Rachel Weisz) governs the country in her stead while tending to Anne’s ill health and mercurial temper. When a new servant Abigail (Emma Stone) arrives, her charm endears her to Sarah. Sarah takes Abigail under her wing and Abigail sees a chance at a return to her aristocratic roots.

As the politics of war become quite time consuming for Sarah, Abigail steps into the breach to fill in as the Queen’s companion. Their burgeoning friendship gives her a chance to fulfill her ambitions and she will not let woman, man, politics or rabbit stand in her way.

I wasn’t sold on this originally, but then I saw the director is Yorgos Lanthimos, who gave us the brilliant The Killing of a Sacred Deer, and the wonderful The Lobster.

The Favourite is released on January 1st 2019, so presumably going for Oscar glory.

Director: Yorgos Lanthimos
Writer: Deborah Davis
Also stars: Nicholas Hoult, Joe Alwyn, Mark Gatiss

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!

Welcome To Marwen stars Steve Carell (Foxcatcher) as Mark Hogancamp, an artist who becomes the victim of a brutal attack, and then finds a unique and beautiful therapeutic outlet to help him through his recovery process.

The film looks great, but if I was to try and explain the trailer and its premise? I can’t… since it mixes fantasy and reality.

Welcome To Marwen is released in the UK on January 1st 2019.

Director: Robert Zemeckis
Writers: Caroline Thompson, Robert Zemeckis
Also stars: Eiza González, Diane Kruger, Leslie Mann, Gwendoline Christie, Janelle Monáe, Merritt Wever, Siobhan Williams, Leslie Zemeckis, Stefanie von Pfetten, Neil Jackson

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!

The 12th Man is a true World War II story about Jan Baalsruds (Thomas Gullestad), one of the 12 saboteurs sent in 1943 from England to the Nazi occupied Northern Norway. After their boat is sunk by the Germans, Jan goes on the run towards the neutral Sweden. However, the brutal weather conditions turn out to possibly be an even greater foe than the Nazi patrols.

The 12th Man is released on January 4th 2019.

Director: Harald Zwart
Writer: Petter Skavlan (as Alex Boe)
Also stars: Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Marie Blokhus

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Hit!

Life Itself is a forthcoming Amazon movie, and as soon as it said it’s from the creators of This Is Us, I wanted to cave my head in – typical sickly-swee crap for women, a la anything from Kay Mellor… I live in hope that she will one day write something amazing and unique, but for what I’ve seen until now, it’s not happening.

The billing simply states it’s: “The lives of people from New York to Spain intersect over the course of different generations”, so no doubt a lot of people will try to ‘find themselves’ while you hope they just get lost again…

Life Itself is released on January 4th 2019.

Writer/Director: Dan Fogelman
Stars: Olivia Cooke, Olivia Wilde, Oscar Isaac, Samuel L Jackson, Mandy Patinkin, Antonio Banderas, Annette Bening, Fernanda Andrade, Laia Costa

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Miss!

Bumblebee – yes, him who they pretended would kill Optimum Prime in the trailers for Transformers: The Last Knight… and then they conventiently cut that bit out later in the actual film.

The trouble is, that while I enjoyed Michael Bay’s last movie – and, definitely, his last as director for this series of films – no-one else cared. Plus, this film has been CENSORED!

The second weekend in the IMAX auditorium in Manchester – the second biggest IMAX screen in Europe, and out of several hundred seats, there was less than TEN people.

NO-ONE is asking for a new Transformers film, but still, it comes, with Travis Knight holding the directorial reins, and he brought us 2016’s incredible Kubo and the Two Strings, and has also worked in Laika’s previous movies, Paranorman and The Boxtrolls, so the franchise is in safe hands, at least.

The premise is as follows:

    On the run in the year 1987, Bumblebee finds refuge in a junkyard in a small Californian beach town. Charlie (Hailee Steinfeld), on the cusp of turning 18 and trying to find her place in the world, discovers Bumblebee, battle-scarred and broken. When Charlie revives him, she quickly learns this is no ordinary, yellow VW bug.


Seriously, Hollywood! You spent $217m on that and it took only $130m at the US box office. A film needs to take almost 3 times its budget to break even and this took $605m worldwide, so it is a certified flop… and you want to spend millions more? And I speak as quite a fan of The Last Knight!

This one is going to die on its arse quicker than you can say Atari VCS!

Bumblebee is released on December 24th.

Writer: Christina Hodson
Also stars: John Cena, Martin Short, Pamela Adlon, Megyn Price, Marcella Bragio, Peter Cullen, Vanessa Ross, Kenneth Choi, John Ortiz, Teresa Navarro, Nina Cheek

Hit or Miss? Verdict: Miss!