As Greece has struggled economically, Giorgos Lanthimos has prospered creatively. With Dogtooth and then Alps the Greek filmmaker has found his place as one of the leading young European filmmakers, in touch with the traditions of European art cinema but able to bend it into strange and resonant new shapes as the continent constricts and conspires. The world is recognisable, but not the same, in a Lanthimos film, and now that troubling stillness and untoward sympathy will be distilled into the English language with The Lobster, his first international production.
Co-written by the director and his regular collaborator, Efthymis Filippou, it's set in a dystopian future where by law all single people must find a partner within 45 days. Those that do not are turned into animals in what has been described as a romantic drama (although genres don't really apply to Lanthimos). His cast is impressively wide-ranging, with lead roles for the Australian actor Jason Clarke (Zero Dark Thirty) and the much discussed Lea Seydoux (Sister, the controversy tinged Blue is the Warmest Colour), as well as Olivia Colman (Tyrannosaur) and a regular in Lanthimos' previous pictures, Angeliki Papoulia.
Kristen Stewart finds her Equal
Another independent filmmaker using science-fiction as a vehicle to remake their outlook is American Drake Doremus, who has a strong debut with the millennial romance Like Crazy but didn't have the same profile with his second feature, Breathe In. His third feature Equals, written by Moon scribe Nathan Parker, is described as a love story with a science-fiction backdrop. The leads are two former child actors who've reached adulthood with contrasting careers: Kristen Stewart has found herself in five Twilight films and Snow White and the Huntsman without appearing entirely happy with her trajectory, while Nicholas Hoult has gone from About a Boy to Warm Bodies and X-Men: First Class without missing a beat.
After Charlie Hunnam (Pacific Rim) lasted a few weeks as the 50 Shades of Grey lead S&M devotee Christian Grey before dropping out, Irish actor Jamie Dornan (Marie Antoinette) has the gig, not to mention the feverish fanbase.
If you liked the combination of Melissa McCarthy and Sandra Bullock as rival cops in The Heat, what about Melissa McCarthy and Jason Statham – seriously, Jason Statham – as rival spies in Susan Cooper? Paul Feig (Bridesmaids) returns as director… Clint Eastwood is adapting the stage musical Jersey Boys for his next film behind the camera.
Keanu spaces out
Keanu Reeves, who turns 50 next year, will forever be Neo to some, and Ted Logan to others, but in recent years he's been quietly pursuing his own interests. Apart from a long delayed martial arts blockbuster, 47 Ronin, that's about two years overdue, he corralled big name filmmakers and produced the celluloid versus digital documentary Side by Side and directed his own martial arts tale, Man of Tai Chi. Now he's pushing through a science-fiction script he's long been attached to: Passengers is the story of a man awakened from cryogenic sleep 90 years early on an interstellar flight. Lonely, he wakes a female sleeper, sentencing her to live and die on the spaceship before making their destination. Jon Spaihts (Prometheus) wrote the film years ago, television helmer Brian Kirk will direct, and Reeves's co-star in this two-hander will be Rachel McAdams (Midnight in Paris). Bogus – but hopefully not.