Friday, 17 January 2020

1917 (Movie Review)


So I finally got around to seeing 1917, the World War I epic directed by Sam Mendes. This is mainly because our local film exhibitors had once again elected not to show it, despite the movie receiving a wide release in the US last weekend (it originally received a limited release on the 25th of December). The film has been getting a lot of buzz this movie awards seasons, and is in fact the current forerunner to take home Best Picture at next month's Academy Awards, and for very good reason.

Set in war-torn France during the peak of the First World War, 1917 tells the story of two British soldiers, Schofield (George McKay) and Blake (Dean-Charles Chapman), who must cross into enemy lines in order to deliver a message that could save the lives of 1,600 fellow soldiers. Those soldiers have been led to believe that they have the Germans on the run, when in fact their retreat is an elaborate plan by the German forces to draw them in for a devastating ambush. Both men must go above and beyond as they race against time in a mission that seems doomed from the start.

The first thing that immediately sets 1917 apart from other war movies (or other films in general) is its breathtaking cinematography. The entire movie is presented as one single take, ensuring that we the viewers are constantly in the thick of the action, with the camera weaving through trenches and buildings with an almost impossible fluidity. There is one particular scene where the two soldiers witness a distant dogfight taking place up in the air, that ends with one of the planes crashing towards them; it was just one of many shots that exemplifies the brilliant camerawork and effects in the movie.

Also worthy of note is the movie's score, which goes from somber to rousing and back again as the on-screen action demands. Then the whole thing is held together by some of the best editing I have seen in recent years, effectively masking the cuts between takes to perpetuate that sense of immersion the single-take camerawork is going for.

1917 is a film that is every bit deserving of all the praise and accolades it has received thus far. It is a movie that goes from effectively capturing the tension and horrors of war in one scene, then shows the quaintness of the world being affected by all that bloodshed in another. It is a technical marvel that accomplishes that almost impossible balancing act through careful pacing and tightly-choreographed action, and it would surely go down in history as one of the great film accomplishments of our time.

Monday, 6 January 2020

My Top 10 Most Anticipated Movies for 2020

Happy New Year, everyone. Hope we all had a swell holiday and are glad to be back to the hustle and grind of everyday life. This is historically that time of year when I set my goals and resolutions for the new year, but since this blog has evolved over the years to have a much heavier focus on movies and movie reviews, I'll be keeping with that trend and doing a top 10 list of my most anticipated movies instead. So without further ado, here are the movies I am most looking forward to in 2020:

A Quiet Place: Part II



My favorite movie from 2018 is getting a sequel, so needless to say, I have nothing but high hopes for this one. The movie looks like it would be serving as both a prequel and a sequel to the first movie, at least judging by the trailer above. I am still pained that the first film didn't get a theatrical release over here in Nigeria, so here's hoping that the asshats that run our local cinemas get their shit together this time around.

Mulan



Disney's current modus operandi remains remaking their classic animated films in live action, and Mulan is the next film from the stable to be getting this treatment. This version appears to be shedding most (if not all) of the fantastical elements from the original though, in favor of a more historical retelling of the tale, and is in fact being billed as a war drama. So don't expect to see any talking dragons or musical numbers, both of which appear to have been replaced with some sleek-looking martial arts.

No Time to Die



Daniel Craig's final outing as James Bond comes this year in the form of the 25th film in the franchise, No Time to Die. It is hard to believe he has been playing the character for close to 14 years now, twice as long as Pierce Brosnan's tenure as the character. Those initial protests we all had when he was originally cast seem decidedly foolish now, but I still can't help but wonder who would be taking up the mantle next, and what direction the series as a whole might be heading into.

The New Mutants



Well, it looks like 2020 would be the year that we finally get to see The New Mutants. This is of course after multiple delays, and the movie seemingly getting lost somewhere between the Disney-Fox merger. Originally billed as the first bonafide horror film in the X-Men universe, the film has since undergone reshoots after being acquired by Disney. Here's hoping that the finished product manages to stick the landing.

Black Widow



Marvel Studios might have ended its 22-movie Infinity Saga with Avengers: Endgame last year, but that doesn't mean we have seen all the stories it has to tell from that time period. Set two years after the events of Captain America: Civil War, Black Widow promises to fill out more of the secret agent turned Avenger's backstory in her home country of Russia. And who knows, we might finally get to find out what happened between her and Clint Barton in Budapest.

Wonder Woman 1984



Wonder Woman 1984 is the second of the two planned DCEU movies releasing in 2020. Patty Jenkins returns to direct, but she is not the only one making a return apparently, as Chris Pine would also be reprising his role as Steve Trevor, the Amazonian's doomed love interest from the first movie. Don't ask me how that is possible because I am just as clueless as you are, but nonetheless eager to find out. The film swaps the dull greys of the previous film's World War I setting for a bright and colorful 1980s aesthetic, and the right kind of killer 80s tunes to back it up. Let's just hope it doesn't turn out to be all style and no substance.

Ghostbusters: Afterlife



As much as I tried to enjoy the 2016 all-female reboot of Ghostbusters, it was glaringly obvious that the movie paled in comparison to the high benchmark already set by the original two films. Thankfully, Ghostbusters: Afterlife looks like the massive course correction that the franchise needs right now. And by course correction I am referring to the mere fact that the movie's trailer doesn't even seem to acknowledge the existence of that other movie.

Tenet



I was lucky enough to catch the 6-minute trailer for Christopher Nolan's Tenet when I'd gone back to see Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker in IMAX. And boy was it a beauty to behold, with the director's flair for tension and conflict on full display. Granted, I barely knew what exactly it was that we were looking at, as the trailer seemed to drop viewers right into the very middle of the film. But therein lies the reason why I am stoked to see the film, if only to find out what is up with all the crazy backwards time looping.

Venom II




Admittedly, I wasn't the biggest proponent of the first Venom movie, even though I did enjoy Tom Hardy's portrayal of Eddie Brock and the titular symbiote, and the chemistry between the two. This time around they'll be facing off against fellow symbiote, Carnage, who was portrayed in the first movie by Woody Harrelson in a post-credit scene. And with rumors of a potential Tom Holland Spider-Man cameo, there is every reason to be excited.

Dune



Capping off the 2020 blockbuster release calendar is director Denis Villeneuve's take on the Frank Herbert science fiction saga, Dune. Set on the desert planet of Arrakis, the story would trace the trials of House Atreides as they attempt to forge a lasting dynasty on the titular world. It features an ensemble cast that includes Timothée Chalamat, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Josh Brolin, Stellan Skarsgård, Dave Bautista, Zendaya and Jason Momoa. We are yet to get a teaser trailer, but the film already seems poised for success based on talent involved, timing and premise alone.


And there you have it, film fans, my 10 most anticipated movies for 2020. I wonder how many of these would actually make it to my list of favorite movies by the end of the year. Only time would tell I guess. It is worth noting that these are not the only movies I would be going to see or reviewing in 2020; for a full list of movies currently on my radar for the year, you can check out this post by Movie Facts over on Instagram.