This Month in Film: November 2018

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October was quite the month. First Man plummeted us into outer space, Bohemian Rhapsody brought back Freddie, Lady Gaga blew us all away with one of the performances of the year in A Star is Bornand of course there was Venom – perhaps the less said about that one the better. You’d be forgiven for wanting a bit of a cinema detox after such an intense month, but take it from me, that can’t happen in November – the big-name releases look set to just keep on coming. In fact, there’s a real possibility that November might trump its predecessor with what’s in store, let’s take a look…

Suspiria, dir. by Luca Guadagnino

Starring: Dakota Johnson, Tilda Swinton, Chloe Grace Moretz
Release Date: 16th November

A neon drenched aesthetic, spine-tingling score and excess of gore made Dario Argento’s 1977 film, Suspiria, an instant classic of both the horror genre and European exploitation cinema. As shocking as it was enthralling, the spellbinding charm of Suspiria has been timeless, and yet the news that Luca Guadagnino was beginning production on a remake of the classic came as a surprise to many. Whilst it remains to be seen if Guadagnino can succeed in recreating the utter terror of Argento’s work, there are plenty of reasons to be bewitched by the prospect of his re-telling. First of all, the very fact that Guadagnino is at the helm should seriously raise interest. Only last year did Guadagnino achieve massive critical success with Call Me By Your Name, proving himself as one of the most technically proficient directors around right now. If he can put his mesmerising spin on the prestigious German ballet academy, Suspiria is sure to be a visual triumph. Much like its predecessor, music appears to remain a vital element here, with the sinister prog-rock of the 1977 version making way for a mind-bending Thom Yorke score. The album was released in late October and received nothing but praise, indicating that Yorke has done a stellar job in imposing a chilling mood on Guadagnino’s work. Horror remakes are often a little underwhelming, but Suspiria looks set to thrust us into its disorientating world with nothing but success.

Creed II, dir. by Steven Caple Jr.

Starring: Tessa Thompson, Sylvester Stallone, Michael B. Jordan, Wood Harris, Dolph Lundgren
Release Date: 30th November

Boxing dramas have never been hard to come by and since the release of Rocky in 1976, they’ve never been that great either. The release of Creed in 2015, however, was a breath of fresh air with its success coming as a surprise to many. Rising talent Ryan Coogler made the genre feel cool again, and the bond between the superb Michael B. Jordan and Sylvester Stallone gave the film a human edge that so many sports dramas lack. Being part of the gigantic Rocky franchise, a sequel was almost always on the cards, but for once it actually feels warranted. The premise of Creed II is as to be expected, as Adonis Creed (Jordan) aims to defend his newly won heavyweight title, accepting a challenge from the son of the fighter who killed his father. However, one aspect of this sequel that is distinctly new is its director. Part of what helped Creed receive so much praise was the way it gave a platform to a relatively unknown director of colour, and it’s great to see this film aiming to do the same thing. With Coogler off doing mad Black Panther-y things, Steven Caple Jr takes the chair, and although he’s only got a few directing credits under his belt, the first trailer suggests we have absolutely nothing to worry about. Creed II will be sure to pack a punch in Caple Jr’s capable hands.

Ralph Breaks the Internet, dir. by Phil Johnston and Rich Moore

Starring: Kristen Bell, Gal Gadot, Mandy Moore, Kelly Macdonald, John C. Reilly, Taraji P. Henson
Release Date: 30th November

November (much like the entirety of 2018) appears to be the month of sequels and remakes, and even Disney are getting in on the act. Set 6 years after the immensely popular Wreck-It-Ralph, Ralph Breaks the Internet follows Ralph and co. as they venture into the internet to fix a glitch in the world of Sugar Crush. Joined by all the usual gang, the most talked about aspect of this sequel is a few surprise new additions, as a recent teaser featuring all of the Disney Princess sent the internet into a massive flurry of excitement (I’m not sure that mega fans have recovered yet). It’ll be interesting to see what the inclusion of these much-loved characters will actually add, and one would hope that their presence is not simply a clever trick from the Disney marketing team to draw audiences in. Wreck-It-Ralph was a family-friendly frenzy that really blew up through its ability to appeal to audiences of all age, and although it can’t be ignored that the sequel looks even more kid-friendly (as is often the trend with Disney sequels) there is no denying that the formula of fun is still there, with colour oozing from every frame of the trailer. Sustain this fun for the whole film, and Ralph Breaks the Internet is guaranteed to be another hit for the studio.

EDITOR’S PICK: Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, dir. by David Yates

Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Ezra Miller, Jude Law, Johnny Depp, Zoe Kravitz
Release Date: 16th November

The melody of John Williams’ famous theme, the stormy Warner Bros. logo, Nagini, and Hogwarts: the final trailer for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald signals that the wizarding world is well and truly back. With so much left open at the end of 2016’s first instalment in the adventures of the wonderful Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), hype for The Crimes of Grindelwald has been exceptionally high. With Newt alone, there’s plenty left to explore, including his relationship with love interest Tina Goldstein (Katherine Waterston), friendship with baker Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler) and an inevitable showdown between the Magizoologist and villain Grindelwald (Johnny Depp). Perhaps the most exciting aspect of the new film is the introduction of Young Dumbledore (Jude Law), which of course means a return to Hogwarts. Even the seconds long teasing shot of the illustrious castle is enough to send a tingle or ten down the spine when watching the trailer, and through its inclusion of the school’s headmaster, the film promises to deliver many more emotional moments of this kind. Will the hype be justified? I guess we’ll just have to wait until the 16th November to see. One thing is certain though, the wizarding world continues to cast a spell on every one of us that steps foot inside it.

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Film Editor 2018/19. Self-professed Ryan Gosling expert and karaoke master.

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