Focus News: March
The five biggest movie news headlines of the month.
As the months in 2021 move forward, we are gaining a more concrete list of film release dates; with cinemas set to reopen in the UK by May I'm sure most reading this are counting down the days to filling up that box of popcorn and grabbing a cheeky ice blast. But until then, we still have news items t0 get excited about. Generally, most of the wider news in March was superhero/comic-book based as is often the way in modern-day cinema, so I have tried to gather a wider variety of things to discuss.
In Memoriam: Yaphet Kotto, age 81
Alien, The Running Man, Midnight Run, Live and Let die, Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare are just a few of the titles that have featured incredible actor Yaphet Kotto. And for every one of those films, Kotto stole the screen and captivated audiences. His work in the Blaxploitation genre too is what many people remember him for, and he's just as brilliant there as he is in the big screen blockbusters. Always a presence, the passing of Yaphet Kotto.
Branagh and the Bee Gees
Kenneth Branagh is the man to be right now. His performances in recent features Tenet and Dunkirk or features as a director for Thor, Murder on the Orient Express and Cinderella have made him even more of a household name. And yes though all of the above releases have been met with mixed reception, his future is just as full as his past. Death on the Nile is ready for release in the not-so-distant future, an acting performance as prime minister Boris Johnson is hot on the horizon and now, an announcement that Branagh will direct the upcoming Bee Gees biopic. And this has the potential to be incredible. I for one am excited to see what Branagh does with their fantastic career and hope the film is a triumph.
Dr Brosnan and Evil Mirren
Yes, I said I'd try to avoid superhero news this month but I feel this one just has to be spoken about.
The upcoming Black Adam film (set for release in 2022 has now cast ex-007 Pierce Brosnan as sorcerer Doctor Fate. He joins Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson but as of yet, there is no news of just how pivotal Brosnan will be in the story.
And in other DC casting news, after the success of Mark Strong as the villain in Shazam, none other than Helen Mirren will be portraying the villainous foe in the upcoming sequel.
Avatar retains its' crown
So back in 2019, Avengers: Endgame surpassed Avatar as the highest grossing film of all time. It did what everyone expected it to do and Marvel fans were overjoyed. But 2021 has changed the history books yet again. No, it's not a new film skidding in to take the gong, but instead the second-placer coming back to take what they believe is rightfully theres.
With viewings of Avatar in China in early 2021, it has now surpassed the climatic film of the Infinity Saga. Will this be a continuing battle? Or will something new come in and take the top spot next?
A Couple of well-dressed Movie Stars
Ridley Scott (director of Alien, The Martian, Gladiator and so many more) is 83 years old, and his work doesn't seem to be slowing down any time soon. His next feature, currently called House of Gucci features a star-studded cast: Jared Leto, Robert De Niro, Salma Hayek, Jeremy Irons, Al Pacino...just to name a few.
Here is a released picture of two of the leading stars of the movie, Adam Driver and Lady Gaga, in full Gucci get up by the looks of it. If the costumes are as incredible throughout as they look here, then at least the film can be sure of at least one Academy Award. But I have a funny feeling it may receive a fair few.
The three March podcast episodes to go and catch up on:
Episode 28. Ellis' Endless Entertainment
The 28th episode of talkabout with Ellis & Gwilym is a different one than usual. The main topic focuses on the classic concept that Ellis (me), is stuck on a desert island. I was allowed one film, one TV show, one song, e.t.c. So go and find out what was picked.
Episode 29. List 'em up: Christopher Nolan
For anyone who's new to the blog or indeed the podcast 'List 'em up' is a recurring feature on the show. We pick a director or studio, and get listeners and followers to send us their lists. We combine them together and make one big list, and this month the director was Christopher Nolan.
Episode 30. British Bands w/ Apollo
Two members of the band Apollo joined us to talk through the best British bands. From Queen to McFly there's a real variety in bands and in opinions.
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 March Films and where to view them
1. Raya & The Last Dragon | Disney+ | ★★★★
2. Judas and the Black Messiah | PVOD | ★★★★
3. The Dissident | Amazon Prime | ★★★★
4. Coming to America | Amazon Prime | ★★★
5. Wander Darkly | PVOD | ★★★