December movies unashamedly reviewed by their trailer…

As we move towards 2022, we find ourselves in the cinematic Endgame now. But we’re not content with sitting back and Marvelling at what the last few months have given us. No. We’re Loki-excited about what’s still to come. A veritable sight for Thor, movie-going eyes. 2021 is finishing strong, like every good hero story should. No cap.

The Matrix Resurrections

Our Rating (out of 5 stars, based only on the trailer): 5 (shhhh)

Director: Lana Wachowski

Cast: Keanu Reeves, Carrie-Anne Moss, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Neil Patrick Harris

Synopsis: The first Matrix movie was a watershed moment in cinema. It snatched the concept of Cartesian Dualism from the hands of bearded philosophy lecturers, wrapped it in PVC trenchcoats and sold it back to us with an evolutionary leap in CGI and visual storytelling. It was, in our opinion, a masterpiece. This time around the film is being directed by a single Wachowski (Lana), and the writing credits include British novelist David Mitchell. The two leads from the original trilogy, Keanu ‘Keanussance’ Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss, are confirmed as returning, despite *spoiler* having died at the end of the last movie (possibly because this movie will be pitched as a direct sequel to the first film of the original trilogy as opposed the third). In the trailer we see Mr ‘Neo’ Anderson (Reeves) knocking back blue pills (the antidote to following white rabbits) as prescribed by his shrink, played by Neil Patrick Harris. But once a messianic liberator, always a messianic liberator — and after being freed from the shackles of virtual servitude, presumably by Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, who looks to have inherited the kingmaker role of Morpheus from Laurence Fishburne, Neo resumes his rage against the machines. Can this movie possibly live up to the original? On brand for the franchise, the trailer poses more questions than it answers — we skim across the surface of the film’s brooding metaverse like a stone hoiked across breakwater. And you might feel like that’s a large spoonful of mangled analogy. But if you’ve been paying attention, you’ll know, there is no spoon…

Spider-Man: No Way Home

Our Rating: 4.5

Director: Jon Watts

Cast: Tom Holland, Zendaya, Alfred Molina, Benedict Cumberbatch

Synopsis: This is it, Watts and Holland rounding off their MCU Spidey trilogy with what will almost certainly be an emotional ride through the fractal-fractured Multiverse. What we know: Zendaya is back as love interest MJ; Jacob Batalan is back as Peter’s BFF, Ned; Dr Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) features, presumably filling in for Tony *sobs* Stark as mentor; we know for sure the villainous quartet of Alfred Molina, Jamie Foxx, Thomas Haden Church and Rhys Ifans reprise their Spideyverse roles as Dr Octopus, Electro, Sandman and Lizard respectively. But what about these rumours of multiple Spideys? With a villain cast that ominous (and surely Gyllenhall is back as Mysterio?) Tom Holland could probably do with some web slinging support from Tobey Maguire and, pffft — if we simply must, Andrew Garfield. There are also launch poster-fuelled rumours of a return of fan (Da)foe favourite, Green Goblin? Less firm rumours about an appearance by Charlie Cox as Daredevil, and even a possible cameo for Venom now the cannon has been cleaned for the symbiote to take a dip in the MCU. It’s all very exciting and we cannot wait to see what director Watt’s has in store before his next Marvel foray with the (can we say) cursed(?) comic book adaption, Fantastic Four.

Sing 2

Our Rating: 4 

Director: Garth Jennings

Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Scarlett Johansson,  Taron Egerton, Halsey, Pharrell Williams and Bono

Synopsis: Aside from the amazing cast list, the original animated Sing movie didn’t really have much going for it. Well the cast and of course the incredible soundtrack, oh and the humour was spot on, and we adored the heartwarming quest that drove the story, then there was the characterisation, musical mash-ups, message and individual scene set pieces. Ok look, cards on the table, we genuinely loved it and the trailer for this follow up film definitely seems to be leaning in the same direction. It’s coming from the team at Illumination Entertainment (creators of the Despicable Me series) who have form when it comes to sequels. We simply hope we’re given more than a fresh twist on another talent show, because there’s more to them there characters.

The King’s Man

Our Rating: 3

Director: Matthew Vaughn

Cast: Ralph Fiennes, Gemma Arterton, Rhys Ifans, Harris Dickinson, Djimon Hounsou and Charles Dance.

Synopsis: Action comic-adaption franchise Kingsmen, is getting a prequel this year. Did we want a prequel? Does anyone ever really want a prequel? Has there ever even been a good one (and don’t @ us with Godfather II — it’s a ‘sprequal’ at best)? Regardless of our collective opinions, The King’s Man, set during the dawn of the 20th Century, is coming. It describes the origin story of the veiled Kingsmen spy agency — one man (Ralph Fiennes, whose casting feels like an inevitability) and his protege (Harris Dickinson) must stand tall against a cabal of nefarious tyrants (including, rather excitingly, Rhys Ifans as Rasputin), plotting a war with the intention of wiping out millions of lives. Awfully bad manners, when after all… manners, maketh, man.

West Side Story

Our Rating: 4

Director: Steven Spielberg

Cast: Ansel Elgort, Rachel Zegler, Ariana DeBose, David Alvarez, Mike Faist

Synopsis: Could it be? Yes it could. Something’s coming. Something good. *clicks fingers aggressively*. Yes the reboot/adaptation bandwagon energy is in full swing in 2021. This movie is a remake of a 1961 movie, which was based on a Broadway musical, that itself is loosely based on Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet. West Side Story is an ode to a pair of star-crossed lovers, Tony (Ansel Elgort) and Maria (Rachel Zegler — this is her first feature film) from rival street gangs, the White Jets and Puerto Rican Sharks. If you know anything about the tale of Romeo and Juliet, you can probably guess the likelihood of this story having a happy ending. *clicks fingers sadly*.

House of Gucci

Our Rating: 4

Director: Ridley Scott

Cast: Lady Gaga, Adam Driver, Salma Hayek, Al Pacino, Jared Leto

Synopsis: The tumultuous tale behind the production of this movie, neatly parallels that of the story it’s telling. Work began back in 2006, with Ridley Scott locked in as director and Angelina Jolie and Leonardo DiCaprio rumoured to star. Three director swaps and multiple actor shifts later, Scott found himself back in charge of a cast that included Adam Driver playing Maurizio Gucci, Lady Gaga as Patrizia Reggiani and a virtually unrecognisable Jared Leto as Paolo Gucci. The story is built around the real life family behind one of high fashion’s most powerful dynasties — we’re robed in mink and whisked through three decades of love and revenge, passion amd betrayal, cat walks and Karama knock-offs, culminating in the tragic murder of Maurizio Gucci. From the trailer, the wardrobe collections looks to be all you might hope for in a film about Gucci, the cast is another glittering ensemble with Lady Gaga in particular delivering some mesmerising lines.

The Tragedy of Macbeth

Our Rating: 4

Director: Joel Coen

Cast:  Denzel Washington, Frances McDormand, Harry Melling, Kathryn Hunter, Moses Ingram, and Brendan Gleeson

Synopsis: Is this another Shakespeare adaptation we see before us? A tale of regicide, ambition, manipulation, the obscurity of prophecy and murder for promotion. And being a Bard spun yarn, it’s not so much of a ‘who dunnit?’ as it’s a ‘what befalls he who dunnit’. This version was directed by Joel Coen, (one half of the Coen brothers), stars the extraordinarily gifted Denzel Washington as the titular character, and charts the tragic rise and fall of a Scottish king attempting to defy the less savoury parts of his sorceress-prescribed fate. Still, he’ll be absolutely fine as long as Great Birnam Wood doesn’t up sticks and yomp to Dunsinane Hill.

Ghostbusters: Afterlife

Our Rating : 4.5

Director: Jason Reitman

Cast: Paul Rudd, Finn Wolfhard, Carrie Coon and Bill Murray

Synopsis: Let’s be clear, we did not hate the female-led 2016 reboot of the classic sci-fi comedy, Ghostbusters. The combo of Kate McKinnon, Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig felt like the forbidden triangle of a comic ouija board. That being said, the fact that this 2021 movie is a straight sequel to the two original 1980s Ghostbusters films, has got us dribbling a little bit of anticipatory ectoplasm. It has some strong spirit DNA — a cast featuring the vampirically youthful Paul Rudd and Finn Wolfhard (Stranger Things — and this trailer has BIG Strange Things vibes #justiceforbarb), retro gadgets, rumours of role reprisals and a trailer that teases Zuul-esque appendages. But will it all get messy with two separate timelines and a sequel dropping more than 30 years after the movie it’s supposedly following? Not if you follow Egon’s first rule of Ghostbuster club: Never cross the streams.

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