Focus News: September '21
The five biggest movie news headlines of the month.
James Bond has finally made his epic return! It feels that all of these News blogs begin with us getting excited about something returning, but this one feels particularly special.
The explosions, the car chases, the drama, the gadgets, the suave, the cheese and everything else that you'd expect from a 007 movie was gifted to us here in No Time to Die. But what struck me was the amount of people who went out to watch on opening night. It's a film that doesn't just see friends joining together to go and give it a watch, but also families. Father and son duos filled my screening and everyone seemed excited to be back, feasting their eyes on a blockbuster like no other. This film has convinced me that cinema is ready to thrive again, and I'm not ready to stop talking about it just yet.
- Ellis Barthorpe (Editor at Focus Film)
In Memoriam: Norm Macdonald, age 61
Norm Macdonald, like many other Hollywood comedy actors began his career on American comedy show Saturday Night Live. There he was a featured player, performing sketches alongside the likes of Chris Farley, Adam Sandler and David Spade. He was well renowned for his impressions, most famously of director Quentin Tarantino and talk show host Larry King.
After leaving SNL his comedy acting roles grew and grew, becoming a regular member of Adam Sandler's performing team and performing many stand-up comedy gigs, some of which are available on Netflix. He was a comedy talent who could steal a scene with a simple line, and it's his legacy in film that will commemorate him in years to come.
Wonka casts huge names
So last month the news broke that Timothée Chalamat would be donning the top hat and purple coat in Paul King's Wonka prequel.
Now, an assortment of actors have been added to the project to make us even more excited. Rowan Atkinson, Olivia Colman, Keegan-Michael Key and Sally Hawkins seem to be taking supporting roles, but as was the case with King's Paddington movies, a list of British comedy legends are expected to cameo including Matt Lucas, Simon Farnaby and Tom Davis...bring on the charm!
Super Mario Woes.
Possibly the weirdest announcement of the month if not year is that an animated Super Mario Bros. movie is in the works. But instead of casting the beloved voice actors who have played the characters in the games for so many years, a star-studded bunch will be taking to the booth to record vocals for the iconic voices that we've grown so familiar with.
Chris Pratt will play Mario and Charlie Day Luigi, whilst The Queen's Gambit star Anya Taylor-Joy will voice Princess Peach. Plus, Jack Black is Bowser, Seth Rogen Donkey Kong, Fred Armisen Cranky Kong and Keegan-Michael Key (in the news for a second time this month) will voice Toad. It's a strange choice from Nintendo to not use the iconic voices, but there's no arguing with this incredible cast, hopefully it will be a rocket boost to the top of the leaderboard, and not a blue shell wipeout on release day.
All your childhood favourites in one place
Streaming giant Netflix have acquired the rights for all of author Roald Dahl's children books. Whether that means they'll be making film or TV adaptations, or a bit of both we don't yet know.
There is a risk that all of the projects could have the same look and feel about them if they are made at the same studio, but then Dahl's books had that synergy anyway, so perhaps this is the perfect mix.
I just hope they don't try to adapt Fantastic Mr Fox, because there'd be no topping Wes Anderson's stunning take.
Clooney & Pitt together again
Two heartthrobs of the early 21st century George Clooney and Brad Pitt came together in 2001 for Steven Soderbergh's Ocean's Eleven. They then came back for Ocean's Twelve & Thirteen; Since then they've appeared in The Coen Brothers' Burn After Reading.
So now the time comes again when the two actors wish to work with one another. And who better to lead the way than Spider-Man: Homecoming director Jon Watts. The three are likely to be a formidable team, and we can't wait to see this new thriller hit the big screen.
The three September podcast episodes to go and catch up on:
Episode 53. talkabout US Bands w/ Apollo
Months ago Joe Durham and Oli Law came onto the podcast to discuss the best of British Bands, this time they're talking American bands. From Foo Fighters to Hall & Oates to Metallica, there's a real range of bands and some real differences in opinion.
Episode 54. talkabout The Best and Worst Movie Titles
Sometimes a movie title doesn't quite feel right, and sometimes it's absolutely perfect. But what is the formula to a brilliant, gripping movie title. We discuss which titles we love like Another Round and Judas and the Black Messiah, and which we're not so keen on like Dude Where's My Car? and We Bought a Zoo. It's a fun, random episode with conversations that are sure to make you rethink some beloved films.
Episode 55. talkabout Call of Duty
In a rare gaming episode we talkabout one of the most popular video game franchises of all time Call of Duty. From zombies to Warzone, Kit Harrington to Captain Price, the conversation hits a wide range of topics, despite Ellis' lack of gaming knowledge.
BONUS: Shang-Chi & The Legend of the Ten Rings
Every time a new Marvel project comes along, we just can't resist talking about it for ages, so we've decided to bring you bonus episodes for each one. Here is a bonus episode of the newest Marvel film Shang-Chi & The Legend of the Ten Rings. We review the film first for those who haven't seen it, and then talk in spoilerific detail about what the movie means for the wider MCU.
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 September films and where to view them
The Green Knight | Amazon Prime | ★★★★
Shang-Chi & The Legend of the Ten Rings | Cinemas | ★★★★
No Time to Die | Cinemas | ★★★★
Kate | Amazon Prime | ★★★
Respect | Cinemas | ★★★