The time has finally come. The moment movie-lovers the world over have been waiting for. The return of the cinematic experience. So, as the slushy machines whir back into action, the popcorn crackles away and the long-dormant screens burst into life, we count down our five most anticipated movies that simply must be seen on the big screen. Here. We. Go.
I know I know. Another Marvel movie. Who needs that right? I do. I need it. And I feel somewhat justified in this. We haven’t had a big-screen Marvel blockbuster since Spider-Man: Far From Home which came out almost 2 years ago. That may not seem like a long time but in a world where we’ve been consistently spoiled with two or three Marvel movie per year, the big-screen superhero fix feels like a distant memory. As we know Black Widow was due to come out pre-pandemic and has been repeatedly pushed back over the last year. However, at long last, Disney have confirmed a 9th of July release date where the red-haired super-assassin will parachute onto the big screen as well as be beamed into our living rooms via the Disney+ streaming service. From a studio perspective, I get it. They need as many eyes on this as possible and with cinemas currently limiting their capacity as well people just not wanting to risk it at this stage, having it available at home for a premium will hopefully pull in some more cash. Because after all, we know Disney spare no expense when it comes to the MCU and that’s primarily because they make serious bank from the box office. I, of course, will be seeing this at the cinema. Front and centre baby. Directed by Cate Shortland, Black Widow will take place post-Civil War and Pre-Infinity War where she returns home to confront some difficult familial dilemmas that, it seems, she’s been running from for a long time. Im hoping it will also depict the origins of Natasha and the events and people that sculpted her into the character we first met way back in 2010 in Iron Man 2. With a raft of big names in support, (including Rachel Weiz, David Harbour and Florence-fucking-Pugh!), a trailer that almost made me well-up, a badass-looking villain and Scarlett Johansson finally leading her own film, I have a feeling this is going to be one for the MCU ages… as the latest trailer states, the experience will be worth the wait.
Most people know Bob Odenkirk from playing the hapless, defence attorney with a corrupt streak in Breaking Bad and now his own show – Better Call Saul. Never would you have thought he’d be leading his own John-Wick-style, action blockbuster in this year’s Nobody. Some of the behind-the-scenes from this film look seriously hardcore and Odenkirk has gone full Keanu Reeves in his training and dedication to performing his own action beats and stunts. And sure, we’ve seen older leading men kicking ass and taking names more times than I care to count since Taken seemingly kick-started (pun very much intended) the genre back in 2008, but Odenkirk in the lead is something different. Something I can’t quite put my finger on. Maybe it’s the contrast to his character in Better Call Saul, a man who’s power lies entirely in his wit, charm and verbal agility, whereas in Nobody (based on the trailer at least) his fists are doing all the talking and quite honestly, I’m here for it. The Wick comparisons are not unfounded. They share the same writer, Derek Kolstad, so hopefully the combat will be balanced with a half-decent premise which is typically lacking from these types of films. Youngster Ilya Naishuller directs so I’m intrigued to see how he handles the set-piece action sequences. Where the Wick films had a seasoned stunt-man directing in the form of Chad Stahelski, Naishuller doesn’t carry the same heft in terms of experience. Based on early reviews though, Nobody is performing well so this could be a break for the director. Maybe Nobody can put enough bums on seats to give both Naishuller and Odenkirk a nice little career boost.
Frank Herbert’s novel has been adapted a few times over the years – Denis Villeneuve’s incarnation however feels like it’s finally bringing the scale and weight that has been lacking thus far. The trailer dropped almost a year ago and brought with it an electric anticipation among fans of the books and fans of Villeneuve himself. In my mind, if he could nail Dune (his filmography to date suggests he absolutely will) this was to be the film that placed him as the single best director working today. From Prisoners to Sicario, Arrival to Blade Runner, this guy knows how to make a film and is certainly not a stranger to spectacular Sci-Fi. Clearly Warner Brothers have spared no expense with the budget which is obvious from the trailer but also from the eclectic cast list including the likes of Timothee Chalamet, Oscar Isaac, Rebecca Ferguson, Dave Bautista, Zendaya, Javier Bardem, Stellan Skarsgard….oh yeah and Josh Brolin, to name but a few. As you may be aware, a few months ago Warner Brothers decided that their entire 2021 slate would drop on HBO Max simultaneously with the cinematic release. This decision was made in the height of the pandemic to the dismay of Villeneuve among others who were not consulted on the monumental decision. Dune was made for the cinema. The epic curve of the IMAX screen, the feel-it-in-your-bones audio through stacks of Dolby Atmos speakers, the pitch-blackness and pin-drop-silence of the theatre as the Sandworms of Arrakis burst through the screen, Jason Momoa’s hair swaying in slo-mot…. erm anyway… just please see Dune at the cinema and not on HBO Max!
A Quiet Place Part 2
If you’ve seen 2018’s A Quiet Place, then you already know why the sequel is on this list. The premise, as simple as it is, lends itself so much to the cinematic experience that seeing it in any other form will never measure up. John Krasinski, former The Office nice guy turned action superstar, returns to direct, this time with bigger budgets, bigger action and bigger stakes. Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe and Krasinski’s better half Emily Blunt reprise their roles as the surviving members of the Abbott family, venturing away from their once-peaceful sanctuary to find refuge with other potential survivors. A noteworthy newcomer to the cast is Cillian Murphy who plays Emmett, a mysterious character not least because the trailer offers very little to contextualise his presence in the film. Krasinski looks to be expanding the world a little in this second instalment, losing the purity and intimacy of Part 1, but reviews are championing the organic nature of the sequel, citing the natural progression of the characters and the unforced nature of the narrative. Hopefully Part 2 doesn’t suffer from the tricky-second-album syndrome that has hampered so many unprepared-for sequels of the past and Krasinski has a story worth telling in the next chapter of what could grow into one hell of a franchise. The only worry with this film is that seeing it in silence is crucial to the experience so if anyone in your screening isn’t buying into that, it could spoil it. My advice would be try and find a showing at a time where there’ll likely be the fewest audience members. Yes it may detract from the collective experience but trust me, better that than a room full of giggling teenagers.
The Matrix 4
Though we can expect to be able to see this film in only a few short months, very little is known about it. The cast comprises new and familiar faces with Reeves and Moss reprising their long-dormant, yet still iconic roles as Neo and Trinity. For anyone who was lucky enough to see The Matrix way back in the 20th century, (yeah, that’s not a typo, it came out in nineteen ninety-fucking-nine!), you already know that if ever there was a big screen experience, it’s this. The Matrix broke cinema way back, with The Wachowskis’ daring approach to action where they would quite literally invent new camera techniques in order to achieve effects years ahead of it’s time. The innovation on display was mesmerising and allowed the film to go down in history as one of the greatest pieces of game-changing cinema ever. Though <i>The Matrix 4</i> is helmed solely by Lana Wachowski, I’m sure we can expect more of the same. Personally I’d like to see a return to the practical effects of the original film as opposed to the CG heavy sequels, but in saying that, CG has come a long way since Reloaded and Revolutions so perhaps it won’t date as easily. Sadly we won’t be seeing Fishburne return as Morpheus, a character that will forever sit high-up in my personal Sci-Fi Hall of Fame, but luckily the Wick franchise is giving us plenty of Fishburne and Reeves screen-time so I can’t complain. Speaking of Wick I’m curious to see how far Reeves’ martial arts have come on in the last 20 years and if age has slowed him at all seeing as Neo is known for the speed and agility with which he fights. Either way the Reevolution is in full effect and I can’t wait to see what an older Keanu brings to this.