“Everything old is new again has long been a mantra in movie land and this year has been no exception. We’ve already seen Ghostbusters given the girl power treatment and Jason Bourne has hit the big screens again after a long hiatus, so keep the nostalgia owing with our picks of the remakes and reboots hitting our screens big and small.”
The Academy-Award winning film Ben-Hur was released in 1959 and was itself a remake of the 1925 silent film of the same name. Based on Lew Wallace’s timeless novel Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ, this year’s reincarnation tells the story of Judah Ben-Hur (Jack Huston), a prince falsely accused of treason by his adopted brother Messala (Toby Kebbell), an officer in the Roman army. Stripped of his title, separated from his family and the woman he loves (Nazanin Boniadi), Judah is forced into slavery. After years at sea, Judah returns to his homeland to seek revenge, but finds redemption. The Hollywood Reporter has named Ben-Hur one of the biggest box office risks of 2016’s northern summer and with the 1959 version such a well-loved classic, it has a lot to live up to. However, the 2016 treatment promises greater emotional depths in the relationship between Ben-Hur and Messala. The script goes back to basics and rather than replicating the previous version, it aims to be a realistic drama film not just a stylised reimagining of the past.
Where? In cinemas from August 25.
Why watch? If you love the original film, you should enjoy exploring the relationships between the main characters and the focus on forgiveness rather than revenge in the remake.
Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie
It’s been a long time between Bollingers for Absolutely Fabulous fans. Since the iconic BBC television series ended in 1996, we’ve only had a three-part special in 2012 to keep us up-to-date with the booze-filled adventures of best friends Edina (Jennifer Saunders) and Patsy (Joanna Lumley). But now they are back, and in a bit of trouble. Still as glamorous and self-indulgent as ever, Edina and Patsy are now in their 60s and Eddie is still running her PR agency, which is quickly running out of money and interest. In need of a miracle to save her company and renew her reputation, Eddie hears that Kate Moss is looking for new PR representation. Spying Moss on the balcony of a fashion event, Eddie attempts to accost her but instead manages to knock her off the balcony and into the Thames below. With the entire event thinking Moss is dead, Eddie and Patsy are forced into hiding into the south of France. Penniless, they resort to desperate measures to secure money and start living the high life with resultant hilarity.
Where? In cinemas from August 4
Why watch? If you want a study on ageing disgracefully, let this be your handbook! The countless celebrity cameos make for fun viewing and the friendship between Eddie and Patsy is still hilariously heart-warming.
Bridget Jones’s Baby
This third Bridget Jones movie comes 12 years after the sequel and sees Renée Zellweger reprise her role as the unlucky in love Bridget. While Bridget finds love with Mark Darcy (Colin Firth) at the end of Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, in the new film we find Bridget 10 years on, still single after breaking up with Darcy five years earlier. Now 43, and with a successful career as a television producer, Bridget has a fling with hot billionaire Jack Qwant (played by Patrick ‘McDreamy’ Dempsey) around the same time she has a nostalgic night with Darcy. She then finds out she’s pregnant, but unfortunately for Bridget, she’s not sure who the father is. The rivalry between the two men heats up as they both play a game of one-upmanship to support Bridget throughout her pregnancy. Apparently, three endings were filmed so even the cast and crew were unaware of who the father would be until the movie premieres. Will Bridget rekindle her love for Darcy or will she have a new start with spunky American Jack?
Where? In cinemas from September 15
Why watch? There’s something really loveable about Bridget, so audiences will be keen to see how the story ends and whether she really does get her happy ending this time around. Emma Thompson is a scene-stealer as Bridget’s obstetrician.
The Magnificent Seven
One for action fans, the remake of the 1960s western classic The Magnificent Seven promises to be popular when it’s released in cinemas at the end of September. The original movie, itself a remake of the 1954 Japanese film Seven Samurai, starred Yul Brynner and Steve McQueen and is the second most shown movie in US television history after the Wizard of Oz. So the remake has some big shoes to fill and at first glance it appears to step into them confidently, with bravado even. Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke, Vincent D’Onofrio, Byung-Hun Lee, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, and Martin Sensmeier make up the seven gunslingers who are seeking vengeance against a villainous Peter Sarsgaard. Denzel brings his signature attitude to the role of head bounty hunter Sam Chisholm, the leader of the seven, and Chris Pratt delivers a well-timed and cheeky performance, while also providing some eye candy for the ladies. James Horner wrote the film’s score before his untimely death in June 2015 and it will be the third and final Horner score to be released posthumously.
Where? In cinemas from September 29.
Why watch? Gun toting action and explosives a plenty with impressive performances from the star-studded cast means this remake has a good chance of standing up against its ever-popular original.
House of Cards
A runaway success in its own right since it launched on Netflix in 2013, House of Cards is an adaptation of a BBC mini-series of the same name that screened in 1990. The US political drama is set in present-day Washington, D.C and follows Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey), a Democrat from South Carolina’s 5th congressional district and House Majority Whip who, after being passed over for appointment as Secretary of State, initiates an elaborate plan to get himself into a position of greater power, aided by his wife, Claire Underwood (Robin Wright). Against the backdrop of the current political climate, the series is particularly realistic, dealing with the themes of manipulation and power. The stuff of binge-watching dreams, you may have to clear your schedule once you get started as the story line is captivating and the performances by Spacey and Wright are outstanding. The critics agree with the series receiving 33 Primetime Emmy Award and eight Golden Globe Award nominations, with Wright winning for Best Actress – Television Series Drama in 2014 and Spacey winning for Best Actor – Television Series Drama in 2015.
Where? Seasons 1-4 on Netflix with season 5 coming in 2017.
Why watch? For a suspense-filled, sophisticated drama that explores many of the political themes we’re seeing unfold around the world – this can’t be beat. It’s a good time to catch up now before the highly anticipated fifth season is released.