If there was ever any doubt as to who would be the first choice to direct the movie version of Ransom Riggs’ best-selling novel, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, then those doubts will have been allayed with the appointment of Tim Burton to the director’s chair. A perfect match of visionary and material? Perhaps. A great combination of visual flair and dramatic invention? Perhaps again. But if you’ve read the first of Riggs’s Peculiar Children trilogy then you’ll know that it’s a lot darker than what’s glimpsed in the trailer, which highlights the idyllic nature of the children’s existence. The script is by Jane Goldman – always a good sign – so this may be one fantasy adaptation that retains the source’s vitality and creative energy and sticks closely to the story, but if Burton is still finding it difficult to connect with the material, as seems to have been the case in recent outings, then we may be faced with a movie that only achieves a portion of what it sets out to do – and that would be a shame.
One of four Tom Hanks’ movies planned for release in 2016, A Hologram for the King sees the rubber-faced everyman on the cusp of a (late) mid-life crisis, and travelling to Saudi Arabia in the hopes of pulling off that one last deal that will help him regain his self-respect and solve all manner of other issues that he has. Aided by the likes of Ben Whishaw and Tom Skerritt, Hanks’s character, Alan Clay, is the traditional fish out of water, ignorant of the customs of the country he’s in, and out of his depth – at first -when it comes to making his comeback. With a romantic sub-plot involving the lovely Sarita Choudhury thrown in as well, this adaptation of Dave Eggers’ novel, written and directed by Tom Tykwer – Run Lola Run (1998), Cloud Atlas (2012) – looks and sounds great, and hopefully, will prove to be a rewarding alternative in amongst all the big budget superhero movies coming our way in 2016 (and it includes a fantastic Talking Heads parody).
A powerful documentary that won a Special Jury Award at this year’s Sundance Festival, Trapped looks at the increasing number of US states that are introducing so-called “trap” laws, or Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers. As these states seek to take away a woman’s right to legalised abortion, and in doing so, put many women’s lives in danger, Dawn Porter’s unflinching look at the potential consequences that these decisions could have both in the short and long term is both frightening and appalling. By focusing on the lives of the men and women who are taking the fight to the lawmakers, and who refuse to back down in the face of so much blinkered, often Christian-centric prejudice, the movie becomes a rallying cry for anyone who still believes that the decision in Roe vs Wade still gives a woman the right to choose what happens to her body.