Justin Kurzel has gone from Snowtown to the Swiss Alps. The young Australian filmmaker, whose debut feature was a grimly entrancing take on South Australia's Bodies-in-Barrels murders from the 1990s, is set to direct a European adaptation of John Le Carré's 2010 espionage thriller Our Kind of Traitor. The story has a British couple of holiday being befriended by a billionaire Russian money launderer who hopes that they can help him escape his criminal brotherhood via the British intelligence services. Kurzel has a screenplay by Hossein Amini (The Wings of the Dove, Drive) and the initial casting suggest Ralph Fiennes and Jessica Chastain as the unwary go-betweens, with Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen as the desperate oligarch.
A moody age
Swedish director Lukas Moodysson, best known for features such as Show Me Love and Lilya 4-ever, is back at work on the streets of Stockholm. In We Are Best! he follows a trio of neglected 12 and 13-year-old girls roaming the capital.
X-Men go back to the future
The welcome trend to make movies about those in their latter years for a segment of the cinema audience that is loyal but under-represented on the big screen continues to grow. After the success of Best Exotic Marigold Hotel there's Dustin Hoffman's Quartet, releasing on Boxing Day with Maggie Smith, Billy Connolly and Tom Courtenay starring. Now the trend has reached comic book movies, with the 2014 sequel to X-Men: First Class, a 1960s-set film that introduced younger versions of characters from the earlier screen trilogy, now bringing back Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart, who played the original Magneto and Professor X in the mutant saga. The film will naturally also feature James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender, who played the pair as young men.
The reboot's sequel, X-Men: Days of Future Past, will be directed by Bryan Singer, who oversaw the first two installments of the original trilogy (let's not think about Brett Ratner's concluding episode), and the title appears to suggest a time-crossing narrative that will hopefully allow Fassbender and McKellen, as two incarnations of the same compelling character, to share a scene together, Looper-style. Other youngsters from First Class returning include Nicholas Hoult and Hunger Games star Jennifer Lawrence, but to further jangle the timeline it appears that Hugh Jackman's character Wolverine (who conveniently doesn't age) will be appearing in Days of Future Past as well as headlining the character's forthcoming second spin-off, The Wolverine.
Spike finds sympathy
Spike Lee is already in post-production on an American remake of Park Chan-wook's 2003 South Korean (hammer) hit Oldboy, and now work is underway on adapting another of the filmmaker's bloody and morally challenging works, 2005's Sympathy for Lady Vengeance. The story of a driven woman who falsely confessed to a child's murder to protect her own child from the real killer and then plots revenge upon earning release, the central role appears headed for Charlize Theron, who has been playing formidable women in the likes of Snow White and the Huntsman, Prometheus and the forthcoming Mad Max: Fury Road.