Focus News: February
The five biggest movie news headlines of the month.
It's been a fairly dormant month in film news. But, we grow closer in the UK to having a staggered return to cinemas. By April we will hopefully be allowed to return with members of our household and hopefully later in the year we'll be sharing boxes of popcorn with those acquaintances that love the big screen just as much as we do.
This year will truly be a triumph for movie blockbusters, and the summer will be full of CGI fight scenes and big explosions. Four MCU films are still scheduled for release this year, then add in a sprinkling of Fast and Furious, a drop of movie musical (Everybody's talking about Jamie, West Side Story, In the Heights) and a dash of Tom Cruise and you've got yourself a jam-packed year of cinema.
This begs the question though, what will awards season look like in 2022? Box office giants like Marvel and Disney are dominating the screen more than ever this year, leaving less appreciation for smaller projects. And this may lead to those large-scale films that are often forgotten by the Academy and Hollywood Foreign Press being appreciated more than ever before. Perhaps next year will be the year that incredible filmmakers like Edgar Wright and Wes Anderson finally get the many nominations that they deserve. With the expulsion of corruption within these ceremonies being highlighted more than ever, this change may lead to a very different form of appreciation that doesn't depend on a board of moviegoers nominating those Oscar-bait films that tick boxes and please critics.
In Memoriam: Ronald Pickup, age 80
Ronald Pickup was an incredibly esteemed actor in the world of Television and theatre; appearing in The Crown, Doctor Who and As you like it, just to name a few. But in later years his portrayals on the silver screen have been just as mesmerising. Whether taking on former prime minister Neville Chamberlain in Darkest Hour, playing a King in Prince of Persia or spending time in India for The Best Exotic Marigold hotel, he always added a touch of class. And although yes his roles on film weren't necessarily the main attraction, they were always pleasantly charming additions.
Mr and Mrs Smith: A Star Wars story
Stars of Star Wars prequel Solo, Donald Glover and Phoebe Waller-Bridge are teaming up again for a remake of the 2005 film Mr. & Mrs. Smith. This looks to be an Amazon original TV show with Glover and Waller-Bridge set to play the titular characters.
Why do we need this? Well that was my initial reaction, but the prospect of these two incredibly creative minds teaming up for this can only fill me with excitement. The pair released a TikTok inspired video on their social medias to announce the project, and even that was thought-provoking. The only trouble is we have to wait until 2022 to see how this retelling plays out.
Gina Carano fired from The Mandalorian
Earlier this month, tweets began to reach the surface showcasing Gina Carano's rogue, frankly discriminative opinions on the holocaust and anti-mask rallies.
Disney soon caught wind of the posts and a swift announcement was made detailing that she had indeed been fired from the hit Disney+ show The Mandalorian.
The actress compared the hatred against her for her religious views to the treatment of Jewish people in the holocaust; comments that are simply abhorrent.
Social media is a dangerous place and voicing opinions on any media platform could lead to a loss of work, or in Carano's case, the loss of her agency too. And in some ways it's a way of looking at those social platforms in a positive light; in this instance it has let someone who willingly voiced their unsanitary opinions face the repercussions.
Spiders-Man 3: 'Home' is where the title is
Every now and then Marvel will use its actors to pull a stunt on its' audience. Most commonly they use Mr Tom Holland. He is often crowned as the King of revealing spoilers but they've learnt to utilise that crown and tease fans.
Famously, Holland pretended to accidentally reveal the poster for Avengers Infinity War when actually it was all a stunt.
This time round Holland's co-stars Zendaya and Jacob Batalon got involved too. The three of them posted a graphic revealing the name of the third Spider-man film in the MCU. But fans soon noticed that each name was different: one saying 'Home Wrecker', one 'Phone Home' and the other 'Home Slice'. Then, the trio of actors were shown in a video, in which they walk past a whiteboard showing the brainstorming that Jon Watts and his team have done. And in the centre of that board, the official title: Spider-Man: No Way Home.
The Golden Globes 2021
The last day of February saw a virtual night at the 78th Golden Globe Awards. The award ceremony annually highlights the triumphs in both film and television, but the winners in film is what we're here to discuss.
Borat: Subsequent Moviefilm one big, taking home the gong for Best Motion Picture: Musical or Comedy and Best Leading Actor in a Musical or Comedy was given to Borat himself, Sacha Baron Cohen. The best actress in a Musical or Comedy went to Rosamund Pike however for her menacing performance in Amazon original I Care a Lot.
In the other side of the film awards, Drama Motion Picture, it was Chloe Zhao who not only won the Best Director award, but also Best picture for her film Nomadland. It wasn't Frances McDormand however who won the Best Actress award as that went to Andra Day for her performance as Billie Holiday in The United States vs. Billie Holiday. Jodie Foster, Daniel Kaluuya and Aaron Sorkin also won awards for their films. The Pixar film Soul was awarded best picture and best score, Minari won Best Foreign film and John Boyega was credited for his performance in Small Axe: Red, White & Blue.
But amongst all of this praise and celebration, there was a feeling of grief, as the Golden Globes rightfully paid respect to the late Chadwick Boseman for his intoxicatingly brilliant performance as Levee in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom. This was one of the strongest screen performances I've seen, and we at Focus Film are extremely glad to see Boseman win the Actor in a Drama motion picture award. May this be a trend that continues through all of this years award season. Not just to honour his performance, but also to honour his legacy.
The three February podcast episodes to go and catch up on.
Episode 24. Becoming Na'vi
This episode is all about CGI. Ellis & Gwilym discuss the best and the worst of Computer Generated Imagery in film. From Avatar to Supergirl they try and think of it all.
Episode 25. Party like it's 1999 | John Hay
As it was the 25th episode, we made it the biggest one yet. We had an exciting interview with John Hay, the director of new Sky Original, To Olivia; we discussed the next James Bond, working with Hugh Bonneville and the trials and tribulations of putting together a film in the middle of a global pandemic. Not only that, but we were joined by Focus Film writer Gareth Bradwick to discuss the Top Ten Films of the 90's. It's our favourite episode yet so definitely go and check that one out.
Episode 26. The Movie Musical w/ Adam & Lucas
Just four old theatre friends talking about musical films: Cats, West Side Story, The Prom, Les Miserables and High School Musical, and that's just for starters. We had a lot of fun.
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 February Films and where to view them
1. Malcom & Marie | Netflix | ★★★★
2. Greenland | Amazon Prime | ★★★★
3. To Olivia | Sky Movies & Now TV | ★★★★
4. I Care a Lot | Amazon Prime | ★★★★
5. The Map of Tiny Perfect Things | Amazon Prime | ★★★