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2018: The Future of Films has never looked brighter – The Greatest Showman, Hostiles, All The Money In The World

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2018 could be special. I feel like I’m saying that every year of late – and rightly so. 2018 bodes well, though. Mark my words. Its start has already offered us things that 2018 has no real right too. Hugh Jackman stealing loads of bread again? Check. Ben Foster doing that thing he does where you question why he doesn’t have his pick of whatever films he wants? Check. Michelle Williams being in two films in the Top Ten, in the opening week? Check.

I won’t even dwell on MOLLY’S GAME, here. Three things have filled me with hope for 2018 – and beyond. And we’re not even a week into 2018.

1. THE GREATEST SHOWMAN. 2. HOSTILES. 3. ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD.

Are we in a golden age of Cinema? I mean, truly? I don’t think you’d have to argue very hard for it. Since the turn of the year, a mere 7 days, I’ve never been more grateful for films. Diverse and bold. Films are pushing boundaries left, right and centre.

THE GREATEST SHOWMAN

It started yesterday with a long-awaited trip to see THE GREATEST SHOWMAN. I say long awaited, but in reality, it’s only been out a week. The problem is, we’ve had the soundtrack on repeat. Literally can’t stop. You could tell me Justin Timberlake was bringing sexy back – hell, even filthy back, and I wouldn’t care. I may have already listened to it more than any musical soundtrack – which is obscene, obsessive, and genuinely quite disturbing.

But I can’t stop.

And bizarrely, what I had pictured in my head for every number, was outdone on the screen.

The film is stunning. A truly beautiful piece of art. MOULIN ROUGE’s toes must’ve been curling as it watched. The film sees that films ability to interlace songs, and hyperreality, and annihilates it. The energy, zip and heart from Hugh et al really is something to behold.

It fills you with hope – and that’s before you realise you’re watching a musical in 2018. At the cinema. In a packed auditorium.

I know we could say we have LA LA LAND to thank. Maybe LES MISERABLES, too. But it’s 2018 now. The World feels different. We’re not meant to have slices of joy like this. We’re meant to be morose and depressed about what lie the White House are going to spin, next. A genuinely feel good movie? Suitable for the whole Family? With a wonderful message of accepting all at its core? It’s not very 2018, is it?

THE GREATEST SHOWMAN makes you remember simpler times. And what more could you ask for, than that? Well, I’ll tell you what. It’s what I asked for for Christmas. All I wanted for Christmas was Zac Efron and Zendaya (MJ is 21, so shut up), trapezing into each other’s arms. And I got it – in glorious technicolour.

The film is a huge statement. It takes the goodwill shown to LA LA LAND and dials it up to eleven.

I couldn’t believe in 2018 there was a musical like it. One that will struggle to live amongst the greats when you consider how timeless they are – but one that deserves to stand alongside them all the same.

Throw in Michelle Williams (effortless, and quickly becoming an essential Actress), Rebecca Ferguson (please throw her in), and Zendaya (What. A. Future), and the Females come out strongly, too. Again, something you can’t take for granted in 2018. Fantastic.

I saw a brilliant documentary with Hugh talking about his love of musicals – and afterwards, you can see the devotion to his craft. It’s all there on the screen. And you realise Hollywood needs people like Hugh Jackman. Pushing through something as bold as LOGAN (which I now need to rewatch ASAP). Pushing through THE GREATEST SHOWMAN since 2009. And in doing so, creating a wonderful double-bill for this and THE PRESTIGE. Bravo. Over to you, Bale.

HOSTILES

Bloody hell. As I left, I pondered what’s going on in 2018. For the second time in two days, I seemed to be watching a film that surely had no right to be on at a cinema in 2018.

Of course, that’s ridiculous and patently untrue. It’s precisely what we need at the cinema.

But as Cineworld weened out a couple of showings of STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI, you realise the tragedy of it all. The screen, although small, was packed. So there’s clearly an audience for this. Possibly drawn by reviews saying that this is Christian Bale’s finest work. He’s never been below an 8/10, has he? But everything you’ve read is true. And as the biggest Bateman – and Batman – can you know, I never thought I’d say that.

He’s sensational. Full of quiet moments – and full of history and depth. It’s a stunning performance that for once doesn’t need to mention his weight or his muscle.

For too long Bale has been a beacon. Managing to do the Blockbuster thing, as well as hanging out with Terrence Malick. I can’t wait to see what he’s like as a Director. Aggressive, I’d imagine. Restless. Demanding. Basically the Roy Keane of films. A leader – and, as I read more, presumably the driving force, much like Hugh above, to get this over the line. His way or the highway. And if he passes you on the highway, don’t expect him to avoid the puddles.

It’s stunning. He’s stunning. Both in how sedate it is, and how unique and unexpected it is. If you’d say to me that Michelle Williams’ turn in THE GREATEST SHOWMAN would get over shadowed by Rosamund Pike here, I’d think it unfathomable. But it is. Pike is fantastic -and incredible.

Think you’ve seen it all before in a Western? Think again. Plot lines go one way and then twist to another. All at its own pace.

Scott Cooper is another reason to be very excited about the future, too. Here he is, cranking out accomplished film, after accomplished film. Watch BLACK MASS again, if you’re not boycotting Depp like Deano is. It’s majestic. I said at the time, in years it will be heralded, but timing is timing. As Kevin Spacey will, attest. Depp, as phenomenal as he is, arguably sunk the film too.

OUT OF THE FURNACE? Under the radar, and underrated. Just how I love them.

We’re in safe hands, here. There’s a scene at the end with four cowboys. I said to Dad after, if he’d got them to be Clint, Costner, Kurt and A.Nother you’d have the perfect film.

As it is, it’s exceptional, bold, and visionary. Don’t sit there moaning that every film is a Blockbuster, and not support it. Seek it out. Even if it’s on US iTunes in a few months, in glorious 4K.

Finally;

ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD

So, in 2018 already, we’ve had a stand out musical. A stone cold classic western – with the greatest performance yet, from one of the all-time greats. What next?

A film that managed to hit its release date, despite needing to replace a complete role (bye bye, Kev) – and needed to reshoot upwards of 22 scenes? How is that even possible? It makes a mockery of reshoots in other contexts. JUSTICE LEAGUE, I’m looking at you disparagingly. I’m off to see it later, but love or hate PROMETHEUS and ALIEN COVENANT (and truth is, I love that you hate them), Ridley Scott is a genius.

How arrogant do you have to be to pull off those reshoots? To convince Marky Mark (who never stopped bringing sexy back) to ditch his Thanksgiving dinner to take part in the reshoots. To get it done, on time, and on budget.

And more importantly, to actually make the stand that you’re going to do that. To avoid a backlash. To stand up and say, “we don’t support this”.

Thankfully I can distance the Actor from the person otherwise, I’d be living in a world where L.A CONFIDENTIAL and SEVEN were out of bounds. I’m glad that’s not the case – albeit the suggestion that BABY DRIVER is actually about Spacey grooming Baby has ruined that for me, forever.

I love Scott, so at the very least I’ll get something from it. What he thinks about BLADE RUNNER 2049 is irrelevant, however compulsive. Oddly though, I’m not too fussed about what the film gives me.

Much like the fan cuts of JUSTICE LEAGUE (have you seen some of the edits they’ve done? Remarkable what a Hans Zimmer score can do, eh?) – the fascination is what will ever see the light of day. Will we get the Kevin Spacey cut? Will we get to see both roles – both of which were said to be exceptional? I’m sure Christopher Plummer won’t care. Spacey? He certainly shouldn’t. He’s got bigger things to worry about.

But that opening week of 2018 bodes well. Very, very well. Throw in the fact you can still see Laura Dern steal STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI (mine and Phil’s thoughts HERE and HERE), and I’d say you’ve got the best choice you’ve had at the cinema for a long time.

So, in 2018 already, we’ve had a stand out musical. A stone cold classic western – with the greatest performance yet, from one of the all-time greats. And Scott putting everyone to shame in how he’s mastered his craft. Films, eh? Bloody hell.

Next you’ll be telling me Gary Oldman is going to outdo his personal best of Drexel in TRUE ROMANCE, and run away with the Oscar. To be fair, if he does, Bale has every right to be livid. Again.

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