Focus News: April
The five biggest movie news headlines of the month.
Wow! April was an incredible month for cinema here in the UK. We finally got to see so many films that had already been received well across the pond and it was well worth the wait. Sound of Metal, Minari, Nomadland, Promising Young Woman, Godzilla vs. Kong, The Mauritanian...and that's just to name a few.
But now, as we reach the end of a month full of Oscar winners and giant monsters, we enter a month that should hopefully see those cinema doors gloriously reopen. It will be a steady return to the multiplex with films like Cruella and Peter Rabbit 2 leading the surge. But come the summer, the big blockbusters should be back in full swing. As great as April was...roll on May!
In Memoriam: Helen McCrory, age 52
Sometimes an actor has so much grace and propriety that their presence is almost taken for granted. And although actress Helen McCrory never intentionally stole the limelight, she always found it gravitating towards her. In the Harry Potter franchise she played Narcissa Malfoy, and her chilling performance provided a sense of unease in every scene she played in. There is a rumour that McCrory was to play Bellatrix Lestrange before Helena Bonham Carter landed the role, and surely there's a part of everyone that would have loved to see that. It is of course Peaky Blinders that most people associate her with, and rightfully so. Aunt Polly is the rock of the Shelby family and similarly McRory was the rock of the show. Through stage and screen she has always been mesmerising, and new generations will be delighted when stumbling upon her work in the future.
Harry Potter co-star Jason Isaacs described her so perfectly: "scabrously funny, shockingly naughty and with an empathetic heart the size of a planet." That personality radiated in everything she did, and her presence will always be felt in all she was a part of.
Colman & Clarke: Secret Invasion
To put it into plainer words, Olivia Colman and Emilia Clarke have joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
These two are two of the biggest stars on the planet right now. The former being nominated for yet another Oscar this year and the latter fresh off her Game of Thrones appearance as Khaleesi Daenerys Targaryen. They are both set to appear in upcoming Disney+ show Secret Invasion which already stars Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Mendelsohn & Kingsley Ben-Adir. What a cast! We can't wait to see it.
The Knives are Out for Netflix
2019 saw a twist on the standard whodunnit story as Daniel Craig's Detective Benoit Blanc visits a wealthy family to solve the murder of the head of the household.
But now, it's been revealed that director Rian Johnson has signed a deal to make two Knives Out sequels, presumably with Blanc returning to solve different mysteries. Although it's a shame that we won't get to see these on the big screen, it is an exciting prospect that we'll get to learn what the detective is solving next.
Indiana Jones and the Bridge of Mikkelsen
The last instalment to the Indiana Jones franchise was a bit of a mess. Although the inclusion of new actors and characters were appreciated by some, it was critically demolished...easily becoming the weakest of the four films.
But now, Disney is revitalising the franchise. Harrison Ford will still don the hat and whip but Mads Mikkelsen and Phoebe Waller-Bridge have joined the cast. Our prediction: Mikkelsen will play the villain as he so often does and Waller-Bridge will end the film with a suggestion of carrying on Indiana's legacy.
The BAFTAS predicted The Oscars
As is often the case the BAFTA awards came first this year and as is often the case they had a good go at predicting the Oscar results.
Nomadland and Chloe Zhao won the best picture and best director awards for both whilst Frances McDormand, Anthony Hopkins, Daniel Kaluuya and Youn Yuh-jung won in the acting categories.
Another Round won for International feature and My Octopus Teacher won best documentary. Soul was given best animated feature for both awards shows and Sound of Metal won for editing and sound. The Father and Promising Young Woman won in the screenplay categories and Mank won on production design.
His House was left out of the Oscar conversation but director Remi Weekes won outstanding debut at the BAFTAS. Ma Rainey's Black Bottom won at both evenings for hair & makeup and Tenet won best visual effects.
So as all of the above suggests if you'd watched one, there wasn't much point in watching the other. The awards were almost identically rewarded and speeches were just as powerful. The BAFTAS went for a virtual approach for hosting the evening whilst the Oscars hosting there's in a train station, treating the evening like a movie set. Although it's been a strange year for cinema, there was still a lot to praise...let's see what the shows bring next year, when the roaring 20's will be well underway.
The three April podcast episodes to go and catch up on:
Episode 32. On the Shelf: Charlie & The Chocolate Factory
In a new series labelled 'On the Shelf' we discuss a beloved family film and tear it to pieces. In episode 32 that film was Tim Burton's Charlie & The Chocolate Factory. Tax avoidance, impractical palaces and the science of an Oompa Loompa is all chewed over.
Episode 33. The One about Friends w/ Becci
Here we discuss one of the most popular TV shows of all time Friends. And we're joined by Focus Film writer Becci Houlston. The three of us discuss the best episodes, characters, cameos, series'...and someone has a rogue opinion about the whole "we were on a break" thing.
Episode 34. Gadgets & Gizmos 101 w/Graphibro
This weeks guests were creators of Graphibro Henry and John Williams. In the episode we talk all about movie inventions and how they'd actually function in the real world.
Black Bear | Lawrence Michael Levine
As a bonus episode, we conducted an interview with director of Black Bear, Lawrence Michael Levine and discussed the film in great detail. Lawrence tells all about shooting on location, the ambiguity in his writing and what it was like working with Aubrey Plaza.
We also review the film in the episode. It's available to download now and we would 100% recommend it.
All of the above are available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music or wherever you stream your podcasts. If you don't have any access to any podcast streamers then simply hit the link below and go and check the latest episodes out.
Top 5 April films and where to view them
1. Promising Young Woman | NowTV | ★★★★★
2. Minari | PVOD | ★★★★★
3. Palm Springs| Amazon Prime | ★★★★
4. Sound of Metal | Amazon Prime | ★★★★
5. Black Bear | PVOD | ★★★★