Distribution in films is often a hard business to run. Many films get made and can’t find a film company to distribute in the post production stage. On the other hand when films find a home for distribution, the filmmakers can hope for success at the box office, considering the film has already crossed several bridges already and the next step is for the film to leap out to the public. Alex Zane; one of Britain’s top TV presenters was fortunate enough to present his top 20 films to look forward to from this November to January. His choices are excellent and one must respect his opinions as he has interviewed serious Hollywood A- Listers from Tom Hanks to the legendary Steven Spielberg.
The top 20 countdown from autumn to winter are:
20. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – The Rebellion makes a risky move to steal the plans to the Death Star, setting up the epic saga to follow. Familiar territory but a definite must watch, starring Felicity Hoffman.
19. A United Kingdom – Prince Seretse Khama of Botswana causes an international stir when he marries a white woman from London in the late 1940s. Yes, we’ve all been there! Starring David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike in an interracial relationship.
18. A Street Car Named Bob – Based on the international bestselling book. The true feel good story of how James Bowen, a busker and recovering drug addict, had his life transformed when he met a stray ginger cat. Dark subject matter for what sounds like a kid’s movie.
17. Allied – In 1942, an intelligence officer in North Africa encounters a female French Resistance fighter on a deadly mission behind enemy lines. When they reunite in London, their relationship is tested by the pressures of war. Starring Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard, directed by Robert Zemeckis.
16. The Accountant – Ben Affleck stars as a maths savant that uncooks the books for a new client, the Treasury Department closes in on his activities and the body count starts to rise. Mmm!
15. Manchester by the Sea – Starring Casey Affleck and Michelle Williams: An uncle is forced to take care of his teenage nephew after the boy’s father dies. Not set in British Manchester but in Manchester, Boston. Who knew?
14. American Pastoral – starring and directed by Ewan McGregor: In 1968, a hardworking man, who’s been a staple in his quaint community for years, watches his seemingly perfect middle class life fall apart as his daughter’s new radical political affiliation threatens to destroy their family. Also starring Jennifer Connelly. Can Ewan direct is the question? I’m sure he can.
13. T2: Trainspotting – Directed by Danny Boyle; a continuation of the Trainspotting saga reuniting the original characters. It’s a pity Kelly Macdonald isn’t returning. Let’s hope she cameos.
12. Richard Linklater: Dream is Destiny: A feature documentary on the life and work of filmmaker, Richard Linklater. An unusual look at a fiercely independent style of filmmaking that arose from Austin, Texas in the 1980s/ early 90’s and how Linklater’s films, Slacker, Dazed and Confused, Waking Life and Boyhood, sparked a low budget, in your own backyard movement in his country and around the world.
11. Why Him? – A dad forms a bitter rivalry with his daughter’s young rich boyfriend. Starring James Franco and Bryan Cranston. This would make a great comedy to see these two leads embark on what Stiller and De Niro have once achieved with ‘Meet the Parents.’
10. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them -The adventures of writer, Newt Scamander in New York’s secret community of witches and wizards seventy years before Harry Potter reads his book in school. Sounds interesting if it stars Eddie Redmayne and scripted by JK Rowling.
9. Sully – The story of Chesley Sullenberger, an American pilot who became a hero after landing his damaged plane on the Hudson River in order to save the flight’s passengers and crew. Tom Hanks truly enjoys success this year, being directed by Clint Eastwood.
8. Mum’s List – A dying mother’s life lessons to the husband and sons she left behind. Based on the best-selling novel by St John (Singe) Greene, the film is the story of Singe and Kate, a couple from North Somerset, whose lives were turned upside down when Kate was diagnosed with an incurable breast cancer. Over her last few days, she created her list: writing her thoughts and memories down, to help the man she loved create the best life possible for their two sons, after she was gone. Starring Rafe Spall and Emilia Fox.
7. Moana – The new Disney film: A young woman uses her navigational talents to set sail for a fabled island. Joining her on the adventure is her hero, the legendary demi-god Maui, voiced by Dwayne Johnson and from the creators of Frozen. This will be a serious hit with families.
6. Passengers – A spacecraft travelling to a distant colony planet and transporting thousands of people has a malfunction in its sleep chambers. As a result, two passengers are awakened 90 years early. Starring Jennifer Lawrence and Pratt, can these two A-Listers in the peak of their careers do any wrong?
5. Paterson – Directed by indie director Jim Jarmusch, starring Adam Driver aka Kylo Ren, Set in the present in Paterson, New Jersey, this is a tale about a bus driver and poet. Nice to see Adam Driver branch out of Star Wars.
4. The Birth of a Nation – Nat Turner, a literate slave and preacher in the antebellum South, orchestrates an uprising. Starring Nate Parker and Armie Hammer
3. Split – Kevin, a man with at least 23 different personalities, is compelled to abduct three teenage girls. As they are held captive, a final personality – “The Beast” – begins to materialise. Let’s hope M. Night Shyamalan will re-capture the success of the Sixth Sense as he directs James McAvoy in the lead role.
2. Bleed for This – The inspirational story of World Champion Boxer Vinny Pazienza who, after a near fatal car crash, which left him not knowing if he’d ever walk again, made one of sports most incredible comebacks. Miles Teller is now considered A- List property. Not bad for someone who started in the Footloose remake.
1. La- La Land – A jazz pianist falls for an aspiring actress in Los Angeles. Starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone in a musical, this could be Oscar contending material.
After speaking to Alex Zane, one had to ask: “Who out of all the amazing celebrities that you’ve interviewed sticks in your head forever?” His reply after a long think was simply: Steven Spielberg for the War Horse promotion. “After watching Jaws as a six year old, I loved his work. When I finished interviewing him he put his hand on my arm, looked me in the eye and said,” “That was the greatest interview.” When you have a compliment from the most powerful filmmaker in Hollywood, you could die a happy man. The top twenty films of autumn/winter are definitely films to look out for.
Written by Aly Lalji