As public booking opens this week, the London Film Festival gears up for its biggest seller: the Surprise Film. Last year, the surprise was a fat man with a beard. Michael Moore's Capitalism: A Love Story was actually a decent documentary, but it was hardly the Wild Thing the room wanted or expected. As seasoned LFF-ers groaned at the "surprise", Cilla Black was in the back with Sandra Hebron laughing her ginger arse off.
So how do you go about following that? Hunt through the UK release schedule and pick out all the big festival-friendly films that haven't made the LFF's line-up. But there are some you can discount straight away. Tron Legacy? No way. Narnia's Voyage of the Dawn Treader? Not before the Queen - that's this year's Royal Premiere in November. And Meet the Parents: Little Fockers? Well, there are better reasons for me to shoot myself, so fate won't let that one happen.
Then there are other candidates, like Monsters, but after its high profile slot at Film4 FrightFest, it won't grace the capital again before its delayed December release. Deathly Hallows wouldn't want to dent its box office impact. The Tourist has a high profile December release for its stars to focus on. Burke and Hare is too close to release. And as for the long-awaited Paul? That would be just a little too out of the blue.
So what stands a good chance of surprising everyone this year? Well, there's talk of December's Love and Other Drugs (a viagra rom-com from Edward Zwick) and even Paul Haggis' The Next Three Days (out next year - already press screened), but here are some of the films I think are more likely to be on Sandra's shortlist.
"These are dark times there is no denying..."
And no-one's about to. Not when Bill Nighy declares it to be the case. And he's not lying either. Dark's a good word for this new trailer. Or epic. Or amazing. Or something else really, really good.
Yes, the new trailer for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One is online (after yesterday's batch of stills) and boy, is it impressive. Keeping with the spectacular scale and ridiculously over-the-top special effects, the first half of David Yates' conclusion couldn't look like a better climax for JK Rowling's series. It has Harry doing his Binary Sun pose, Ron getting all bearded and angry, and Snape saying "We have taken over the Ministry" in a wonderfully sinister voice.
There's also a shot of Dobby, some swoops over patches of countryside, and a nice spotlight on Hagrid, whose flying motorbike returns for the opening set piece - an escape from the Death Eaters, which will certainly include the novel's use of multiple Harrys as a decoy. Either that or Danny Radcliffe just really enjoys dressing up.
Dragons, lightning, snakes, wands. Screw all this typing. Read on to watch the new trailer at least four times. Then start counting down to Friday 19th November. That's when Deathly Hallows Part One hits UK cinemas. Just in case you'd forgotten or something.
Just when you thought your muggle life couldn't any more exciting, up pop a veritable flood of new photos from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. In honour of the new trailer, which is arriving online imminently, Warner Bros have magicked up a load of stills from the video to get your wands sparking.
Following the last run of images, which showed us not just Rhys Ifans but also a motorbike-plus-sidecar, this batch includes a gravestone, a Dobby and a gigantic Ministry of Magic statue bearing the motto "Magic is Might" (that one comes with a free Dolores Umbridge). You even get ickle Danny Radcliffe having his own Binary Sun moment too.
Fans of Professor Snape (aren't we all?) will also be content with a shot of him wearing black, sitting on a black chair, around a black table, surrounded by Death Eaters (in black) and talking to Voldemort, who's wearing orange. Oh wait, no, it's black.
With only 58 days to go until Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One is released, there's a new giveaway of premiere tickets going on too. If you recall, the official Harry Potter Facebook Page has some poor person standing in the corner, counting the days down from 100 and handing out 100 tickets to match.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part One swoops into cinemas on Friday 19th November. The trailer's over here, but what you really want is the brand new stills. All 20 of them. Yes, there are 20. You didn't expecto patronum that, did you?
Somewhere deep inside all of us is an unhinged Harry Potter fan screaming to see more of the frankly impressive-looking finale to the long-running series. That small, shrieking, hysterical part of you can now be silenced thanks to these sexy new stills from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, which apparated into our inbox.
Owls! Kissing! Sidecars! Rhys Ifans! What's not to like in such a well-rounded package? You even get to see Hermione Granger get blood all over her muggle-born hands, in case Xenophilius Lovegood doesn't do it for you. Part One of the epic climax certainly continues to impress.
Directed by David Yates, the concluding two-parter is set to become darker than the previous franchise entries (screw you, Chris Columbus). In keeping with that, Warner Bros have also produced a brand new (and quite detailed) synopsis. It runs something like this:
Part 1 begins as Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) set out on their perilous mission to track down and destroy the secret to Voldemort’s immortality and destruction—the Horcruxes. On their own, without the guidance of their professors or the protection of Professor Dumbledore, the three friends must now rely on one another more than ever. But there are Dark Forces in their midst that threaten to tear them apart. (That's "tear them apart", in case you missed that rather graphic wording.)
Meanwhile, the wizarding world has become a dangerous place for all enemies of the Dark Lord. The long-feared war has begun and Voldemort’s Death Eaters seize control of the Ministry of Magic and even Hogwarts, terrorizing and arresting anyone who might oppose them. But the one prize they still seek is the one most valuable to Voldemort: Harry Potter. The Chosen One has become the hunted one as the Death Eaters search for Harry with orders to bring him to Voldemort… alive. (Get a load of that ellipsis - they almost wrote "dead"! Can you feel the tension?)
Harry’s only hope is to find the Horcruxes before Voldemort finds him. But as he searches for clues, he uncovers an old and almost forgotten tale—the legend of the Deathly Hallows. And if the legend turns out to be true, it could give Voldemort the ultimate power he seeks. Little does Harry know that his future has already been decided by his past when, on that fateful day, he became "the Boy Who Lived". No longer just a boy, Harry Potter is drawing ever closer to the task for which he has been preparing since the day he first stepped into Hogwarts: the ultimate battle with Voldemort.
Harry Potter and the Death Hallows: Part One hits UK cinemas on Friday 19th November. To help you prepare for this self-proclaimed ultimate showdown of ultimate destiny, check out the wonderful trailer. But first read on for the sexy new stills. Phwoar. Sidecars. And Rhys Ifans.
Right after Adrien Brody got fingered for Mr Fantastic, Fox continue to push their franchise reboot forward with a hunt for a director. First out the gates is David Yates.
The Brit helmer, who just finished off Harry Potter for Warner Bros, has proven experience with fantasy franchises, and knows how to balance effects and character. But Yates is also in competition with two other candidates: Joe Carnahan and James McTeigue.
McTeigue, who's currently working on The Raven, is best known as the Wachowski Brothers' protege who directed V for Vendetta. Carnahan, meanwhile, followed up early thriller Narc with the blockbuster fun of The A-Team.
Both have the balls for some hefty action, especially now Marvel are bringing the 3D to everything, but it's hard not to root for Yates. Especially because he gave the world State of Play. Not that anyone at Fox will have seen the original BBC TV series - they're too busy sorting out rumour from fact. And throwing money at whoever will touch Fantastic Four after that Rise of the Silver Surfer malarkey.
Spoilers ahead folks. In case you couldn't guess from the headline.
The point at which Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows will be divided into two has been discovered. Fans were both angry and excited by Warner Bros' decision to release the Potter finale in two parts. After the spectacular Harry Potter trailer hit them in the face, they settled firmly on the excited side of the fence. Now, they'll either get angry or excited once more when they find out where exactly Deathly Hallows' split point is.
Chapter 24. That's the official halfway point, according to Entertainment Weekly's report. In J.K Rowling's book, that's the moment just after Dobby dies and Ollivander gives some decent plot exposition, namely that Voldemort knows about the Elder Wand - which he promptly nicks from Dumbledore's tomb.
It's a good point to split it, if a little unsurprising: there's a moving farewell scene where Harry buries Dobby, plus the grave-robbing cliffhanger to tease desperate Potter fans. A lot of them still accuse Warner Bros of doing the double take "purely for financial reasons".
Alan Horn, Warner Bros President, is having none of it: "The key word there is purely... There's no question that Warner Bros will make more money with two films than they would have with one. But we also never ever would have done this if [J.K Rowling] had not endorsed it, and if we didn't feel that we were providing a better finale, with a more full sense of closure."
The key word there is "fuller", Alan. "Fuller". Grammar fail.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is out in 98 days time.
You may think this is an ordinary Wednesday in August. You'd be wrong. It's actually 100 days until Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Part 1) is released - and Emma Watson's counting. Or someone else definitely is, because the actress who plays Hermione Granger announced that to mark the countdown, 100 tickets to the Deathly Hallows World Premiere would be given away.
Where? Why, on Facebook of course! And how? Via a new Harry Potter app (of course). The app, Join the Battle, is another step in the massive worldwide Potter frenzy as fans gear up for the concluding episodes of JK Rowling's phenomenally successful series.
Directed by Potter stalwart David Yates, Deathly Hallows is set to be the dark, gloomy, thrilling final movie that people dared to hope for, building up to the climactic battle of Hogwarts, which will probably end up taking up most of the film's second part.
Still unsure why there's so much buzz around one boy wizard? Check out the trailer over here (there's even a pretty poster of a building on fire), and readjust your wand settings. Then, if you fancy the chance to win a seat at the premiere, head over to the official Harry Potter UK Facebook Page. Or just watch Potter Puppet Pals for the 100th time - that won't win you the ticket, but it will keep that Potter high going.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Part 1) hits cinemas on Friday 19th November. Part 2 will arrive on Friday 15th July 2011. You can start counting down to that one in your own spare time.
It's Daniel Radcliffe's 21st birthday! But instead of giving him a cake, here's something that will clearly make his day far happier: three new featurettes for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. No, you can't eat them.
Need to brush up on your Deathly Hallows' story? There's something to sort you right out. Love wizards? Love running? Then you'll really love the close look at Harry, Ron and Hermione on the run in the wild muggle world. And competitive? Boy, is that boy wizard competitive - see ickle Danny Radcliffe pretending he can run really quickly, even faster than a girl. Which he blatantly can't.
Coming right after that spectacular theatrical trailer, HP7 is still shaping up to be a stunning conclusion to the epic franchise. So sit back, light a candle, and celebrate the growing pains of Danny Radcliffe with three rather exciting videos.
It's either that or bake the cake after all. And it's hard to bake a cake in the shape of a horse.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is released on Friday 19th November. Re-watch the trailer over here, or read on for all three new videos.
Daniel Radcliffe will star in James Watkins' film adaptation of The Woman in Black. No, he's not the woman. Hopefully. He's the one getting scared by the woman. Which is much more believable.
The super-scary West End play sees a young lawyer journey to an out-of-the-way house to deal with an old woman's will. Before Bad Things happen. Like, Really Bad Things.
Ickle Danny Radcliffe is following his run as Harry Potter with a range of different roles, including a remake of All Quite on the Western Front and a Broadway production of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. The Woman in Black would mark a good contrast to both of them.
Mostly a two-parter, the stripped-down shocks of the supernatural thriller work well on stage. But James Watkins clearly thinks they'll work on screen. In 3-D. Directing from a script by Jane Goldman (hello, Kick-Ass), there's hope for a decent dose of fright, even with the annoyance of an added dimension.
But is the part right for ickle Danny? He's certainly got the young-looking face down pat. Whether he can contort that into a mask of sheer terror is another thing altogether. Although he may well still sleep with the light on.
Tom Felton - 9.5% carbon, 60% evil wizard, 30% monkey and 2.5% bad maths. An actor with that kind of chemical make-up is wasted on playing Draco Malfoy his whole life. Which is why Tom Felton has signed up to be Fox's monkey boy. Yes, Felton has officially joined Rise of the Apes.
The Planet of the Apes prequel already has its fair share of casting goodness, from Andy Serkis (as mo-cap monkey Caesar) to James Franco and Freida Pinto. Felton joins the cast as son of Brian Cox's nasty scientist, so expect him to either be mean to the monkeys, or conflicted over his father's ape-abusing ways. Hopefully it'll be the former.
Rupert Wyatt's film, which sees Caesar lead a primate revolution against the humans, will lead back to the beginning of the Planet of the Apes franchise. It'll be shooting within the next few weeks.