1. First photo for Ocean’s 8 washes up

Warner Bros. have released the first picture for the hotly anticipated heist ‘em up Ocean’s 8 so now we can frantically speculate about what will happen in the film! Let’s break it down:

  1. Sandra Bullock is playing Debbie Ocean. The rumours of a family connection to George Clooney’s Danny Ocean were true. Probably.
  2. The new gang like sunglasses—at a ratio of 5:3. This could be an integral plot point or it could be that the gang are typical subway users and will do anything to avoid eye contact.
  3. Rihanna’s character is called Nine Ball—even though none of the characters have taken Cue Ball as their identifier. She has dreadlocks and exposed knees. She is probably a hacker.
  4. Warner Bros. have gone with “In Summer 2018… the tide will turn” as a preliminary tagline. Is this just another water pun (which, frankly, we’d never sink to) or is there a naval element to this whole shebang?
  5. The ultimate heist will take place at New York’s Met Gala and we have to wait until Summer 2018 to see if it all pans out.

2. Ben Affleck will not direct The Batman

It was only a few weeks ago that we reported how Ben Affleck was getting really tired of being asked about the caped crusader’s next outing. Smiling opposite Jimmy Kimmel, the Live by Night director joked about how “no one was like, ‘Where’s Live by Night?’ But with Batman I keep getting the ‘where’s the fucking Batman?’” A good laugh was had by all.

Except that it wasn’t. According to Variety, Affleck has reportedly dropped out of directing The Batman, though he’ll stay on as producer and star. The decision was reportedly a mutual decision by both the studio and Affleck, and the latter put out a short statement explaining that “it has become clear that I cannot do both jobs to the level they require.” Both are already searching for a replacement. And while Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’s Matt Reeves is supposedly a leading candidate, our very own Mr Preston has had a few thoughts on the subject. Joel Schumacher does not feature.

3. Luke Evans is a Beast of a Beauty

We’ve got our fears over Disney’s newest live-action adaptation. Especially after that first trailer that appeared to be a shot-for-shot remake of the 1991 classic. Cue Disney exec saying “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. They may have a point, but Beauty and the Beast boasts one of the most beautiful marketing campaigns in recent memory so it hardly seems to matter. The latest trailer is no exception; sumptuous, rich, and full of colour, we’re being won over on this one. In particular, we are very much on board with the surely scene-stealing Luke Evans as Gaston. Grab your five dozen eggs and prepare for greatness.

4. Denis Villeneuve is Dune just fine, thank you

Even though he’s likely hard at work editing Blade Runner 2049, Denis Villeneuve is apparently still looking to get his kicks from cult 1980s projects drifting around Hollywood. Thankfully, according to Dune author Brian Herbert, the Arrival and Sicario director has signed on the dotted line to direct “the exciting new DUNE series film project”. The news confirms The Hollywood Reporter’s story from late December which suggested Villeneuve was interested in helming the reboot for Legendary. Whether it is a simple reboot isn’t known however, and what does “series film project” mean? A prequel? A remake? A triumphant return for Kyle MacLachlan? It could be anything.

5. Antoine Fuqua departs Scarface

The new Scarface pic has lost its director. Apparently Sony are desperate for a sequel to The Equalizer and need Antoine Fuqua back to helm the Denzel Washington-led feature. This has left Universal in the lurch, although they’re loath to slow down production on the Scarface reboot. According to Variety, the studio are hoping to have a director in place quick-sharp for their Los Angeles-set reimagining of the 1932 and 1983 gangster flicks so as to begin shooting in Spring. Terence Winter (The Wolf of Wall Street, Boardwalk Empire) penned the script. What’s more, Universal have even got a lead lined up to prove they’re serious: Diego Luna. Apparently the Rogue One actor is all set to continue his run of slightly grubby upstarts by easing his way into Al Pacino’s coke-encrusted size nines.

6. Here come the Superbowl Spots!

The Superbowl is a six-hour-long spectacle in which two teams find time for about 11 minutes of actual sportsTruly, the sport of sports. But the highlight to all this nonsense is really the presence of tiny trailer spots for this summer’s big releases. At $5 million a pop—for no more than a few seconds—you’d better make sure your teaser’s a good one. The highly intriguing Ghost in the Shell has gone first with this 30-second offering. While there’s certainly some deserved scrutiny around the project, we’re quite open to it. It looks pretty, it’s got a strong female lead, it’s based on incredible source material and it would be fantastic to see a truly good live-action anime adaptation! Fingers crossed, eh?

7. Vote for Pedro

The 70th edition of the Festival International du Film de Cannes has appointed Pedro Almodóvar as President of the Jury. The festival announced the news on its website on Tuesday, along with words from the Spanish filmmaker where he gushed about how “grateful, honoured and a bit overwhelmed” he was. Following in the footsteps of George Miller, who headed the Jury last year, Almodóvar is pretty well qualified for the position, having had five of his films selected in Competition overall. Nick caught Julieta last year, deeming it “highly familiar but, as per usual, finely executed.” This year’s proceedings run May 17-28, where we’ll see if Almodóvar’s eclectic eye extends to his choices.

8. Edgar Wright heads SXSW

It’s been four long years since Edgar Wright wrapped up the Cornetto Trilogy with The World’s End. In that time the directorial phenom has at least kept busy; he departed Ant-Man, compiled a list of his 1000 favourite films, and reunited with Philip Schofield. He also found time to write and direct Baby Driver. Starring Ansel Elgort as a getaway driver named Baby, the film sees the law-breaking motorist fall into trouble when a heist goes bad. It is, unsurprisingly, one of the films we’re most excited for this year, and it turns out it’s getting its premiere in March. Wright announced that the film will receive its world premiere at SXSW festival, which begins March 10, before a UK release expected on August 18. If you still can’t wait, just watch the following video a few times.

9. Nicole Kidman to play Aquamom?

With The Batman and The Flash both directorless at the moment, Aquaman is possibly the only DC property not floundering. Well, that’s providing you’re comfortable with the concept of an Aquaman film in the first place. As if to prove that things are going swimmingly, the James Wan-directed project announced a few new cast members this week. First up, The Hollywood Reporter has it that The Getdown star Yahya Abdul-Mateen II has signed on to play a character with a marginally less awesome name, Black Manta. Black Manta is, of course, Aquaman’s primary nemesis—after cruise ship fecal waste. It’s expected that he’ll team up with fellow evildoer, Orm The Ocean Master (Aquaman’s half-brother), as played by Patrick Wilson.

The other bit of casting is relatively predictable. The same publication reports that Nicole Kidman is in final talks to play Atlanna, the mother of Aquaman. Kidman is a notorious dead ringer for the 6’4”, 230lbs Jason Momoa, with subtle differences in the body and facial areas. So it makes sense that the Aussie has reportedly been at the top of Wan’s wishlist for a while. Whether she’ll officially agree to the part she was born to play, we’ll have to wait and sea.

10. Did you say ‘Italian Sherlock Holmes’? Two tickets please

Elevator pitch time! Imagine the passion of Italy, the acting of Leonardo DiCaprio, and the sleuthing of 221B Baker Street’s most famous inhabitant. All in one film! Don’t lie to yourself, it’s a lip-smacking prospect. Yes, The Black Hand is the main dish we never knew we wanted and/or needed, and according to Deadline, DiCaprio has signed up to produce, and lead, the adaptation of Stephan Talty’s bestselling book.

The plot follows Joe Petrosino, a courageous NYPD cop who went after a gang that came out of Italy and into America (their calling card was a black hand, hence the title), which kidnapped people and then extorted money from their families. Charming people. We won’t say anymore but as it’s based on a true story there’s little you can’t find by simply Googling it. At present, all the film now needs is a writer. And a director. And a cast. Okay, it needs a lot of things—but what our crack news team can tell you is that Leonardo DiCaprio will be in a film sometime in the future. Only the best for you, here.

– SON & DB