Arriving almost stealthily but just in time to prove 2020 isn’t all bad, The Queen’s Gambit on Netflix is a riveting story of loss, genius, addiction and chess.
Smartly and economically written, gorgeously designed and shot, and with an excellent score (by Carlos Rafael Rivera) the series however, is owned lock, stock and barrel by Anya Taylor-Joy (The Witch, Emma).
The actor plays orphan Beth Harmon and the seven episodes detail her meteoric rise through the world chess rankings. Director/writer Scott Frank (Godless) makes full use of Taylor-Joy’s eyes throughout, which seem to sometimes threaten to burn right through the screen. It’s a frequently astonishing performance, one that starts from those eyes and manifests a dark and fascinating inner life for her character. This was clearly a rather special collaboration between the two.
Based on a 1983 thriller novel by Walter Tevis (who also wrote The Hustler, The Colour of Money and The Man Who Fell To Earth), the story moves forward propulsively but never less than thoughtfully and also highlights a complicated but tender relationship between Beth and her adoptive mother, played by Marielle Heller.
The cast is uniformly good, featuring superb turns from the likes of Isla Johnston (as young Beth), Bill Camp (the care home janitor who spark’s Beth’s nascent talent) and Moses Ingram (as Beth’s closest friend, a character we should definitely have seen more of in the narrative).
But this is Taylor-Joy’s show and a great showcase for the young actor. Frank and Taylor-Joy give us a fascinating, magnetic character in Beth, and mostly avoid making her talent magical by highlighting her obsessive and destructive traits.
The Queen’s Gambit feels very much like a piece of classic Hollywood storytelling, yet rises above that with a cool boldness that feels utterly compelling.
The series brings a wonderful, stylish slice of viewing joy (sorry, not sorry) to a pretty awful year.
No Time To Die Delayed. Again.
With the tedious inevitability of an unloved season (there’s one for long time Bond fans), No Time To Die, the 25th film in the James Bond franchise, has seen its November release pushed back for a second time.
Originally slated to release back in April, the final outing for Daniel Craig’s secret agent will now see the light of day on April 21st, 2021, just over a year later. Maybe.
MGM, Eon Productions and Universal were determined to make the November release, but it’s likely the solid but not spectacular box office take of Warner Bros.’ Tenet, along with the ongoing worldwide problems at the hands of Covid-19, have convinced the studios that Bond would need to cool his heels.
“MGM, Universal and Bond producers, Michael G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, today announced the release of No Time To Die, the 25th film in the James Bond series, will be delayed until 2 April in order to be seen by a worldwide theatrical audience. We understand the delay will be disappointing to our fans but we now look forward to sharing No Time To Die next year,” says the official statement.
Wonder Woman 1984 and Black Widow had already delayed their early October and early November releases, respectively, so this latest delay is frustrating but not really surprising. Expect Dune to follow suit shortly and shift from its current Christmas Day release slot.
2020 is destined to be a terrible year for cinemas, so let’s hope things begin to improve in the new year…
No Time To Die – Billie Eilish Music Video.
The music video has been released for Billie Eilish singing the theme song from the forthcoming 25th entry in the James Bond franchise, No Time To Die.
While the song was originally released back in February, the official music video has been held back until now, due to the film’s Covid-19 related delay.
Now, with the film hitting cinemas in just a few short weeks (you can view the latest trailer here), we can see Eilish being sultry all over clips from the film, highlighting the troubled relationship between Bond and Dr. Madeleine Swann.
No Time To Die, Daniel Craig’s final outing in the tailored Tom Ford suits as 007, directed by Cary Joi Fukunaga from a screenplay by Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, Fukunaga and Phoebe Waller-Bridge, with a score by Hans Zimmer, and co-starring Léa Seydoux, Jeffrey Wright, Christoph Waltz, Lashana Lynch and Rami Malek, will be with us on 12 November (in the UK and Australia) and the 20th November (for the USA).
Marvel Cast Iman Vellani As Ms. Marvel For Disney Plus
Deadline just dropped the news that Marvel have found their Kamala Khan, AKA Ms. Marvel. Newcomer Iman Vellani will play the character in a new series for Disney Plus.
Created by editors Sana Amanat and Stephen Wacker, writer G. Willow Wilson, and artists Adrian Alphona and Jamie McKelvie, Khan is Marvel’s first Muslim character to headline her own comic book.
The new series for the streaming channel will be written by Bisha K. Ali and centers on Khan, a Pakistani-American teen based in New Jersey. It will mark Vellani’s first big role in the film and television industry.
The news follows on swiftly from the recent announcement that Tatiana Maslany has been cast in the title role of a She-Hulk series, and this week’s announcement that the studio is developing a Nick Fury series, to star Samuel L. Jackson.
We’ll bring you more word on Ms. Marvel as the show moves into production, but this is exciting news for fans of the character.
The MCU Gets Weird With WandaVision Trailer
The trailer for WandaVision, the first Marvel Cinematic Universe series to hit Disney Plus dropped last night, and it looks like things are about to get mighty strange…
Not much is known about the plot for WandaVision, but it does apparently take place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe after the events of Avengers: Endgame, which saw The Vision meet his synthetic maker (that can’t possibly be a spoiler for anyone now, right!?). That in itself makes this show intriguing, to say the least.
Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany reprise their roles from the Marvel movies, joined by Teyonah Parris, Kat Dennings, Randall Park, and Kathryn Hahn, while the six episodes have been written by Jac Schaeffer and directed by Matt Shakman.
No date was given for the release of the series, just a generic ‘Coming Soon,’ though since the series was originally supposed to drop in December, following Falcon And the Winter Soldier (which has been delayed in production due to that all-encompassing Covid-19), it now looks like WandaVision will kick off the Disney Plus Marvel bandwagon.
We’ll just have to wait and see when exactly this slice of Marvel weirdness will arrive on our screens, but this trailer certainly has me looking forward to it…
Marvel Cast Tatiana Maslany As She-Hulk For Disney Plus
I have to be honest, I’m a little obsessed with Tatiana Maslany. It’s her teeth. They are, and I’ll brook no argument on this, the sexiest teeth on television.
That aside, the fact that Marvel have landed Maslany for the title role in their new She-Hulk series for Disney Plus is excellent news, because her performances in BBC America show, Orphan Black, were fabulous. Maslany was nominated for three Emmys and a Golden Globe during the show’s run between 2013 and 2017, winning the Emmy for best actress in a drama series in 2016.
She-Hulk, to those who are behind on their Marvel Comics’ lore, is the alter-ego of lawyer Jennifer Walters, Bruce Banner’s cousin who, at least in her four-colour origin, is tranformed into an intelligent, green-skinned giant after a life-saving blood transfusion from her (in)famous relative. Mark Ruffalo has coyly intimated he may even reprise his role as Banner for a cameo on the show.
She-Hulk’s debut on the screen is shaping up nicely, as Maslany’s casting joins the announcement from earlier this week that Kat Coiro had been signed as director and executive producer. She will direct the pilot and additional episodes of the series. Jessica Gao is writing the series and serves as executive producer and showrunner.
Coiro has directed shows including It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and Dead To Me, while Gao has Rick and Morty on her resume, which suggest She-Hulk might follow the frequently semi-comedic tone taken by the best of the character’s comic book appearances (star artist/writer John Byrne produced a memorable run in the 80s, with Shulkie, as she’s affectionately known, frequently breaking the fourth wall to address readers).
She-Hulk, with a currently unknown release date, will join other Marvel Cinematic Universe shows on Disney Plus, including Falcon and The Winter Soldier, WandaVision and Loki, with Hawkeye, Moon Knight and Ms. Marvel also in development.
We’ll bring you more news as it hits.
Tatiana Maslany photo: Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP
This Is The Way, This Is The Mandalorian Season Two Trailer.
The trailer for the highly anticipated second season of The Mandalorian has just dropped and, well, it’s rather good…
This first teaser doesn’t reveal any new characters known to be appearing, such as Boba Fett or Ahsoka Tano, but we do see greater involvement from the Empire and a clear sense of Din Djarin’s mission from The Armourer, to reunite The Child with his own kind.
The Mandalorian is really shaping up to be some of the best Star Wars coming out of the franchise since Disney came on board (though that’s not necessarily a high bar after The Rise of Skywalker), and I’ll be glued to Disney Plus when this begins streaming on October 30th (especially now the channel has launched here in Norway).
Will you be tuning in, or are you done with Star Wars? Drop a comment below…
The Dune Trailer Arrives
We haven’t spoken before about the forthcoming film adaptation of Dune here at Out of Dave’s Head, so let’s rectify that with the arrival of the first trailer.
The road to the screen (and the planet Arrakis) has been a long one for this production but it looks like the wait will have been worth it.
The director, Denis Villeneuve, has a pretty impressive track record with films including Sicario, Arrival and Blade Runner 2049 under his belt, and that cast is simply phenomenal, including Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, Oscar Issac, Josh Brolin, Javier Bardem, Dave Bautista, Charlotte Rampling, Stellan Skarsgård and Rebecca Ferguson (in case you weren’t paying attention to that trailer).
But Dune is a notoriously tough nut to crack in transporting author Frank Herbert’s 1965 novel to the screen. Just ask David Lynch. It’s certainly a good omen that the director recognised the world of Dune was too complex for a single film and insisted on splitting the first book into two parts.
However, this is a huge undertaking and that sequel is not yet a certainty. Production company Legendary have not officially greenlit it, so if you want to see the conclusion get out there, buy tickets and see this film at a cinema (observing safe social distancing, naturally).
Fingers crossed that Villeneuve and company succeed, and we can all find out when Dune opens in December.
Welcome Back With The New James Bond Trailer.
Out of Dave’s Head went into lockdown over the past few months, with Hollywood basically doing the same. But now we’re back with a blast.
The second trailer for No Time To Die looks the business and offers some intriguing teases, but will it overcome audience’s fears of returning to the cinema and will it allow Daniel Craig to go out in style?
These questions and more will be answered when the twenty fifth entry in the long-running James Bond franchise opens in November.
Will you join James Bond in the cinema…?
To The Batmobile… Matt Reeves Reveals His Ride.
Start your engines! The Batman director Matt Reeves has just revealed his version of the Batmobile. And, well, here it is…
There’s not much more to say at this point, except that it looks nicely slimmed down from recent chunky cinematic Batmobiles, and to this old Bat Fan’s eyes, it has something of the feel of both the 1970s comic book sports car versions designed by the likes of Bob Brown, Irv Novick and Dick Giordano and the sleek number designed by the late, great artist Norm Breyfogle, for his excellent run in the 1980s. And that’s a good thing.
Meanwhile, The Batman stars Robert Pattinson as Bruce Wayne/Batman. The cast also includes Zoe Kravtiz as Catwoman, Paul Dano as Riddler, Colin Farrell as the Penguin, John Turturro as crime boss Carmine Falcone, Jeffrey Wright as Commissioner Gordon, Andy Serkis as Alfred and Peter Sarsgaard as Gotham City DA Gil Colson.
The film will be released June 25th, 2021.