This weekend ASFF selects five new feature films, from Hollywood to Bollywood, that are opening over the Christmas period. And there’s plenty to unwrap, from broad comedy to sci-fi, fantasy, action and period drama, as filmmakers set out to explore themes from friendship and revenge to PTSD.
Regular comedy partners Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly have co-starred in everything from Talladega Nights to Step Brothers. They return as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s creations, Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson, for a comic adventure which features everyone from Sigmund Freud to Queen Victoria. Featuring Ralph Fiennes and Hugh Laurie as Conan Doyle regulars Moriarty and Mycroft, as well as Rebecca Hall and Kelly Macdonald, it’s an all-star Victorian romp.
A spin-off from the Transformers franchise, Bumblebee is considerably less manic than the Michael Bay-directed films, which took their leave from the Hasbro toy line. Here, Travis Knight directs a 1980s-set tale about how the robot B-127 – or ‘Bumblebee’ as he will be nicknamed – first came to Earth. Teaming up with teenage tomboy Charlie Watson (Hailee Steinfeld), our yellow Autobot friend must not only contend with the aggressive US military but Decepticon agents on his case.
The Lobster’s Yorgos Lanthimos returns with this 18th century Queen Anne-era tale of power play and scheming courtiers. Showcasing three fantastic female performances – Olivia Colman as the dour Anne, and Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz as two cousins battling for her affections – it comes armed with an acid-tongued script by Tony McNamara and Deborah Davis. Wild and weird, this unstitches the British corset drama and re-fashions it into something utterly unique.
Simmba (Reliance Entertainment)
Get your Bollywood fix with this big-budget spectacle directed by Rohit Shetty. Ranveer Singh stars as Sangram “Simmba” Bhalerao, a corrupt cop who enjoys all the advantages his position brings until his family is hurt and he’s sent on a different path. Co-starring Sara Ali Khan and Ajay Devgn, expect glossy action sequences, dramatic locations and some seriously loud song and dance numbers.
Robert Zemeckis’ latest is a true story, already the subject of the 2010 documentary Marwencol. Steve Carell plays Mark Hogancamp, barely able to remember any of his life before a brutal attack. Retreating into his imagination with a WWII-style town he builds and photographs, the film frequently depicts Carell as Mark’s CG-doll alter-ego, the brave soldier Captain Hogie. Co-stars Leslie Mann, Diane Kruger and Baby Driver’s Eiza González join Carell in this curious fantasy.
All films released between 26 December and 1 January.
1. Lead Image: Still fromBumblebee.