It has been, to say the least, a tumultuous start to the year 2020. Australia has faced a devastating natural disaster. We now have a global epidemic on our hands. COVID-19 has grabbed the world by its collar and shaken it to its core, with every thinkable industry naturally being affected by its presence. The stock markets are dropping drastically, gas stations are posting Throwback Thursdays with their prices per litre, and grocery stores are beginning to look abandoned.
From the service industry all the way up to the entertainment industry, so many businesses have taken a hit. Hollywood was already having enough trouble getting people into seats at the movie theatre.
Alas, as human nature dictates that we adapt and make changes, and changes there will be, the biggest announcement film-wise has been the postponement of the latest James Bond instalment, No Time to Die, starring Daniel Craig in his final performance as the infamous British spy. With that being said, here are some of our most anticipated arrivals to theatres this year — as long as the theatres remain open, that is. Thank god for streaming services.
No Time to Die
Image via 007
Daniel Craig unequivocally and effortlessly changed the face of the James Bond franchise. He created a Bond that was human and yet more cold and animalistic than any Bond before him. In previous entries to the franchise, James Bond would challenge adversaries in such a manner that one thought he was hoping not to scuff his shoes. The usefulness of his gadgets became the star of the show, leaving the character to bask in his talents as a playboy. In 2006, following the release of Casino Royale, the world was shown that Bond can still possess the playboy traits of his successors while also being a realistic depiction of what in essence Bond is: a well-paid spy and efficient killer. In the last fourteen years, even with a barrage of directors helming the franchise, Craig has managed to keep the audiences captivated.
The last two entries have been directed by the talented Sam Mendes, but for the final swan song in Daniel Craig’s career as Bond, Universal Pictures has placed Cary Joji Fukunaga, best known for his direction of the critically acclaimed Netflix Original Beast of No Nation, at the wheel. Fukunaga, being a relative newcomer as a director, is a curious choice at first glance. After watching the trailer, however, it begins to appear obvious that this was a clever choice on Universal’s part. This Bond entry is taking the undeniable style of the previous instalments — including the classic Aston Martin that is cherished among fans of the series — and meshing it with heart stopping Hollywood stunt work, the most fashionable costume design since Casablanca, and stunning vistas from all over the globe. It feels as though this will be the time that they really get it right, and we can’t be any more excited for it.
The plot centres on Bond being pulled out of retirement to rescue a kidnapped scientist who is being held by a dangerous villain named Safin, played by the brilliant Rami Malek. With not much plot information to go on and the trailer thankfully not revealing all of the film’s cards, it appears that Christoph Waltz is reprising his role from the last entry to the franchise Spectre as Ernst Stavro Blofeld. His character being included in the story reveals that there will be some connection to the last time that 007 graced the screen.
Also returning from the Spectre cast we have Lea Seydoux, who starred alongside Craig as Dr. Madeleine Swann in Spectre. Her character, a psychiatrist and daughter of Mr.White (who was a former villain in the franchise) appears to be tied into the central plot as the romantic interest of Bond. With her last two major instalments in Hollywood cinema being spy films, it feels appropriate that she is reprising her role. Even though from speculation it appears that No time to Die is essentially a sequel or continuation of Spectre, it feels as though this film will stand on its own and properly cap off the legacy that Daniel Craig has lead as 007.
Image via Marvel
In the sea of comic book spinoffs and superhero movies that have seemingly taken over Hollywood in the past five years, it feels refreshing to see a movie like Black Widow being produced. The film stars and centres on the talented Scarlett Johansen, who is reprising — or shall I say, rightfully rebirthing — her powerhouse of a character Natasha Romanoff, also known as the Black Widow. Johansen first embodied the role in Iron Man 2, released in 2010, and was then placed within the incredibly successful Marvel Avengers series. She stole the screen in what was becoming a played-out franchise, and in our opinion made it something that was still worthy of watching. It would only make sense that Marvel Studios finance a picture that would bring Johansen’s powerhouse role to the big screen as the main focus.
Although next to nothing has been released regarding the plot, what we do know is that the film takes place between Marvel’s Civil War timeline (revolving around Captain America) and the Infinity War timeline (which featured The Avengers). Romanoff is an expert in hand to hand combat and a skilled spy, so one can expect a good amount of action in this next chapter in the Marvel universe.
Robert Downey Jr. appears in the trailer, most likely continuing his role as the infamous Tony Stark. The cast also includes the hit TV show Stranger Things’ beloved darling David Harbour, who is cast to play Alexai Shostakov, otherwise known as Red Guardian, a Russian counterpart to Captain America and acquaintance to Romanoff within the Marvel universe.
With Johansen at the helm of this project, it will be interesting to see how she sparks life back into the long lineage of Marvel fandom.
Image via imdb
Christopher Nolan is the last of a dying breed when it comes to cinema, a holder of keys from an age that has well passed. Let’s go back a little bit to give readers a sense of what we’re talking about. Remember in The Dark Knight when the Joker has the transport truck flipped onto its back in the middle of Gotham City? Did you ever wonder why it felt and looked so real? This is due to Nolan’s undying dedication to shooting films with the budget of the modern age, yet with the realistic look and feel of the golden age, which means that that very transport truck really did flip over itself, all in front of the lens. No computer-generated effects — just pure, unfiltered cinema.
After single handedly bringing interest and respect back into the Batman series, Nolan decided to make a little film called Inception. Inception was based on a group of spies led by Leonardo DiCaprio. Said spies gather information from individuals by entering their dreams — and sometimes their dreams within dreams. The film shocked audiences adding a psychedelic and almost philosophical perspective to the spy genre. Nolan’s latest gift to celluloid feels strikingly similar stylistically to Inception, only this time it stars John David Washington as an unknown spy who attempts to prevent World War III through time travel. The trailer is undoubtedly the work of Nolan, meaning it reveals very little and intrigues the audience more than giving away any respectable piece of the plot. All we can say for certain is that it looks absolutely stunning, taking place in multiple countries with Nolan utilizing his trademark 70mm IMAX lens to masterfully capture all of the landscapes which this spy story travels through.
John David Washington leads the cast in his first role as leading man in a major Hollywood production, and Robert Pattinson — who has begun treading his way into the Hollywood A-List with announcements of his latest casting as Batman — co-stars alongside Washington. Another notable mention in the cast is Nolan’s longtime collaborator Michael Caine, who will undoubtedly bring his iconic dry British humour to this espionage epic. We couldn’t be hungrier for new info to be released on what looks to be one of the finest and most conscious spy pictures of 2020.