Interestingly, both films are from Scandinavian directors. In the wake of TV shows like Wallander and The Killing, there's a lot of great filmmaking coming from that part of the world just now. In fact, it feels like world cinema's numero uno status has swung back to Europe now the Asian horror/thriller boom has died down.
This is an action drama from Danish director Nicholas Winding Refn (best-known for the '90s Pusher trilogy and Bronson), about a Hollywood stunt-driver who moonlights as a getaway driver for bank robbers. Ryan Gosling plays the lead character, known by the mononym "Driver", and he's supported by a dazzling array of famous faces: Carey Mulligan (Wall Street 2), Ron Perlman (Hellboy), Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad), Albert Brooks (Broadcast News), Christina Hendricks (Mad Men) and Michael Chiklis (The Shield). Anyway, it looks fantastic. There's real personality and verve to this trailer, and I'm not sure how anyone can refuse that incredible cast.
Release dates: 23 September 2011 (UK) / 16 September 2011 (US).
A movie based on the classic 1974 spy novel written by John le Carré, previously made into a respected 1979 BBC TV series starring Alex Guinness as middle-aged spook George Smiley. This adaptation replaces Guinness with Gary Oldman, who must uncover a Soviet mole who has infiltrated the highest levels of British intelligence. There were some understandable doubts that Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy could live up to the TV series, but I think this story deserved to be retold for modern audiences. I'm so glad they've kept the period setting, without tortuously altering the plot to reflect modern times. Like the aforementioned Drive, the cast is incredible, but perhaps even classier: Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, Mark Strong, Ciarán Hinds, Benedict Cumberbatch, Stephen Graham, Toby Jones, John Hurt, Kathy Burke... superb.
Given the mixed fortunes of British production company Working Title Films (who have even resorted to a Johnny English sequel to try and make some cash), this is exactly the kind of high-quality, quintessentially British movie they should be making. I'm really excited for this one. It comes from Swedish filmmaker Tomas Alfredson, who directed the incredible horror movie Let The Right One In, too. If it's a box-office hit, which I can't see it failing to be, it's also nice to know there are two le Carré sequels to adapt; The Honourable Schoolboy and Smiley's People.
Release dates: 16 September 2011 (UK) / 18 November 2011 (US).